Are they actually organic?
A few organic retailers offer non-organic free-range geese, some offer both free range and organic free-range, and most offer only organic free-range geese.
(Organic geese are effectively "free-range with knobs on" .)
Free-range geese are very much cheaper to produce than organic geese largely because non-organic feed is so much cheaper than organic.
Despite that lower production cost some of the retail prices for the non-organic free-range geese are significantly higher than most genuine fully organic producers charge.
Although the organic retailers offering the non-organic geese do not claim they are organic, we feel the unsuspecting consumer seeking organic produce may be misled into buying an over-priced non-organic goose.
Did they start life as organic goslings produced from fully organic parents kept to full organic standards?
Ours do. We have our own organic breeding flock and hatch goslings for sale to other organic farmers, as well as to rear ourselves.
Some organic geese start life as non-organic goslings which are usually cheaper than organic goslings because of the scale of production and the much lower feed costs for the breeder flocks. They may even have been imported from eg Denmark as day-olds. If bought in large numbers they can be imported very cheaply. Organic producers who also operate large scale intensive units can therefore combine their gosling orders for both organic and non-organic units and because of the huge numbers involved in total can screw down the price to extremely low levels.
Does it matter if organic geese are produced from non-organic goslings?
If you value the many contributions that organic farming makes to the environment, rural employment, and sustainability generally, then surely it does matter that an organic goose should have a full organic pedigree.
If you believe "We are what we eat", then it must follow that "a gosling is what it and its parents eat". Surely that is another reason why organic geese should start life as organic goslings.
The current EU law is that organic goslings MUST be used IF THEY ARE AVAILABLE. But the various organic certification bodies operate guidelines with so many loopholes that anyone who wants to avoid using organic goslings can do so. And many do.
That is why this year some 1500 of our organic goslings have had to be sold to non-organic farms.
We intend to continue along the fully organic route as long as we can pay our bills.
But unless consumers wake up to what is going on in the name of "organic", truly organic poultry of all species will very soon be non-existent.
Already almost all “organic” turkeys, ducks and chickens start life as non-organic poults, ducklings and chicks respectively.