A Passion for St. Martin’s Geese: A Hobby Turned into a Tradition

Just a few years ago, Radka Melišová from Ostrava-Koblov could not have imagined that she would spend most of her free time from June to November nurturing St. Martin’s geese. Now, she and her family rear and slaughter dozens of these geese just as November arrives. She manages all this alongside her husband while juggling their jobs; she is a clerk in a law firm while her husband drives a truck.

The Melišová family lived in an apartment until 2017. After moving to an old farm, her husband suggested they could add geese to the chickens and ducks they were already raising. “Four years ago, we got three geese. The following year, when I mentioned at work that we had geese, we had to get 50 more,” remembers Radka. “This year, we’ve got even more.”

The two-day-old goslings are purchased from Hodonín. “We go for them in June. Then, they stay in the nursery for a month to avoid falling ill. By the end of July, we let them out into the garden. I never dreamed we would raise geese that my favorite outfit would be overalls and dirty, muddy boots,” Radka laughs.

However, the care of these geese is demanding. “I get up daily at half-past six. To feed the geese, ducks, hens, cats, St. Bernard, and guinea pig we have in the house, it takes at least an hour and a half,” she says. Her husband takes care of providing water for the geese in the garden. “When they are larger, they get rainwater. They have a large consumption,” she explained.

The first month is the hardest. “Every day, we clean the goose house and pick up the litter so that infection does not get into the breeding,” she said. “The priority for geese is cleanliness, quality feed, and for goslings, warmth, and constantly clean water,” says the woman named the breeding “Fattened Goose.” She also marked the slaughter as strenuous, which required a lot of people.

The Melišovás strive to provide everything the geese need. “They graze in the garden and are in the goose house overnight. We diversify their diet with apples, plums, and leaf salads that we grow only for them,” the woman admitted. Even though the price of St. Martin’s geese is rising, the “Fattened Goose” does not lack customers. “This year, we charge 360 crowns per kilo of goose. We already have orders for next year; the interest is increasing,” Melišová added, indicating that they are not considering expanding geese breeding.