The Goose and Hen

The Goose and Hen is a family-run farm in Harvard, Massachusetts; we raise chickens, ducks, rabbits, and  geese on 4 1/2 acres of land. Our birds free range, spend most of their day foraging, and get plenty of attention from their human friends. We supplement with high-quality layer feed.

Meet the Farmer

Sam has been passionate about birds since the first grade, when he petitioned his parents to let him raise chickens and promised he’d do all the work. That might not have been completely the way things went in the beginning, but he does most of the work today. It wouldn’t be fair to discount the efforts of his three younger brothers, sister, and parents, but it is fair to say that Sam is the energy and drive behind the farm. His family started with nine hens, but Sam always has his eyes on new birds and new breeds. Today, at 15, he raises several varieties of chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys and is hoping someday to expand to quail, pigeons, and peacocks.

Our Mission

We're passionate about our birds and our food, and we strive to share that passion with our community. We're dedicated to raising happy, healthy birds and sustainable, tasty fruits and vegetables without all the chemicals. We want to be the farmer next door, where you can pop over for a dozen eggs or a bunch of carrots and see the ducks swimming in their pond on the way out. We're having fun, and we want you to benefit!


Our Story

Nothing beats the taste of a fresh egg, laid just this morning by one of our girls. Maybe in an omelet with some fresh-picked scallions and kale, or perhaps a little wild garlic mustard. Now that's good eating.

The Goose and Hen started with nine hens in 2015. Of course, it wasn’t called that then, but it was a beginning. Although Sam was only in the second grade, he was the driving force behind the chicken acquisition. Sam's been taking great care of the flock, which has expanded to include ducks, turkeys, and geese, ever since. In the spring of 2020, he made his first foray into hatching his own eggs in a homemade incubator and became the proud "papa" of a small Cayuga-Welsh Harlequin cross.

Sam and his family know each of the birds by name and, if you care to listen, he and his four siblings will go into detail about their different personalities. The birds spend a lot of time in the yard, never in cages. Happy, healthy chickens and ducks lay tasty, nutritious eggs and are a fun addition to the backyard.

Alongside the birds is our expanding collection of garden boxes, which are slowly overtaking our yard. There's just something special about eating spinach or a pepper from your own garden, when you know where the food came from and can be sure it isn't coated with chemicals. What's more, we can experiment with interesting varieties that aren't available commercially. The Goose and Hen is still little, but it's getting bigger, and we love to share the produce with our neighbors.

But we don't grow everything we harvest. Nature grows plenty of nutritious, tasty, gourmet treats without the help of any farmer at all. One just has to know where and when to look. We also harvest Northern bay leaves, wild nuts, sweet fern, mushrooms, autumn olives, Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard, and a multitude of other wild delectables to feed our family. We love sharing our passion for foraging with others, so check out our class offerings.

Here at The Goose and Hen, we are committed to our animals and our gardens. We are passionate about raising nutritious, sustainable, delicious food. We hope you'll let us share it with you.

Meet the Birds 

We have more than 100 birds, but here are a few of the more interesting characters. 

Henrietta

Henrietta was the first bird to hatch on the farm. Sam built a homemade incubator and turned the eggs by hand three times a day for the 30-day incubation period. Two eggs ended up being fertile, but unfortunately the second chick made an ill-conceived turn mid-hatching and suffocated. As heart-breaking as this was (it happened in the middle of the night, but we caught it on web cam), Henrietta made a successful albeit lengthy exit 72 hours after pipping (24 hr is normal). She’s special not only because she was our first home-hatched bird but also because her feet were originally curled under themselves, so essentially it was like she was walking on her knuckles. Sam taped them flat with masking tape and changed the tape every so often until her feet were growing the right way. Because of her foot deformities, she had trouble learning to walk, but Sam helped her practice and picked her up when she fell.  Not surprisingly, Sam and Henrietta formed a special bond; he because he put so much care into raising her and she because, well, Sam was the only other duck around. Or maybe it was the other way and she thought she was a person. In any case, we’re happy that she has finally conceded to living in the duck pen rather than in the house.

Garage Chicken 

Hens are particular about where they lay their eggs, and once they find a spot they like, it can be hard to convince them to lay anywhere else. Garage Chicken somehow wandered into our garage and, for reasons known only to her, thought a trashcan full of garbage was a great spot to lay an egg. It took us a while and a few eggs to catch on, but at that point she really didn’t want to lay anywhere else, so we decided that trash can is no longer for trash but is now her personal nest. We outfitted it with a plush red pillow for her laying comfort (not to mention the cleanliness and safety of the egg); if the pillow goes missing, she clucks up a racket. If the garage doors are closed when she’s ready to lay, she’ll come around the back of the house and peck at the sliding door to let us know she needs to get to her spot.

Alexander

Meet our head gander, Alexander. Alexander arrived by mail order and was supposed to have been accompanied by four friends, but unfortunately the company made an error and only sent us two goslings, one of whom sadly did not survive the shipping. So Alexander was all on his own with a bunch of new chicks and … Henrietta the duckling (see above). Alexander and the chicks were the same age, but of course he, being a gosling, towered over them. However, he and Henrietta, 2 weeks his senior, were just the same size. Henrietta had imprinted on Sam, as noted above, but Alexander imprinted on Henrietta. As they both grew, his size of course tremendously outpaced hers, but even today, Alexander will follow little Henrietta around the farm.

The Geese

After the unfortunate lonely arrival of Alexander (see above), we got a replacement shipment of goslings, who being younger than Alexander gave him the head spot in the gaggle. Pictured here are Alexander, Lily, Maya, and Duncan (counter-clockwise from bottom right).

The Muscovies 

Muscovies are the oddballs of the duck world and of our farm. Unlike other domestic breeds of duck, they are not descended from the Mallard. They are thought to have originated from South and Central America and Mexico and to be more closely related to geese than other ducks. Although they are tropical birds, they adapt well to cold climates. One of their more interesting oddities is that they don’t quack or honk. The ladies make more of a musical trill, and the males make a puffing sound like they’re learning to pronounce their F’s. If you visit our farm, you’ll be able to spot the male Muscovies because of the prominent red knobs on their heads. In some cases it looks like they’re wearing masks.

The Easter Eggers

Easter eggers lay blueish or greenish eggs, hence their name. We have one elderly Easter egger who lays only occasionally at this point, but the two Easter eggers pictured here are the miscreant juveniles of the farm. They’re always getting into places they shouldn’t be in, from gardens to garages. They spill cans of nuts and bolts, roost on car roof racks and garage door tracks, and go missing when we’re trying to put them to bed (most often they are roosting in the garage when this happens). They’re not quite at egg-laying age yet, but we expect them to start giving us some reward for all the trouble any week now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you sex birds?

  • We cannot guarantee the accuracy of sexed birds. We will do our best to sex them. If you end up with a bird you don’t want, we will refund your money and take the bird off your hands if you like.

Have questions or comments?

  • Send them to thegooseandhen@gmail.com or just click the Contact Us button below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Do you deliver?

  • We deliver for bulk orders only; see our corporate page. We also offer shipping on some items.

Are the eggs certified organic?

  • No. We feed a high-quality, 16% protein feed that is not certified organic. However, our birds spend most of the day foraging, and because we only use organic insecticides on our farm (when we use insecticides at all, which is rarely),  we feel pretty good about what our birds eat. But if you’re looking for certified organic eggs, we would need to refer you elsewhere.

Be informed!

Sign up to receive updates about topics of interest to you. For example, want to know when we have eggs available? Let us know below.

Contact Us

Questions or comments? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Email us at thegooseandhen@gmail.com

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. Please refer to our cookie notice and privacy policy for more information regarding cookies and other third-party tracking that may be enabled.

© 2020 The Goose and Hen

Created with
Mailchimp Freddie Badge