We actually started with breeding Giant Canadian Geese and soon added mule deer to our collection. The mule deer were soon replaced with 5 elk heifers and a yearling elk bull, and we were on our way to being in the elk business. We let the offspring of the Canadian geese fly and return to the wild with the hope they would return each year to nest and raise their offspring. Every year we have as many as 10 or more pairs return in the early spring to where they had been raised. They select a nesting site to raise more goslings themselves. We no longer have any majestic Canadians confined, but have the opportunity to watch the life cycle repeat itself every year. We have numerous (100s) of fall and winter visitors that stop by for a safe haven for the evening and night and then usually take flight and continue their journey the following morning.
We are now working in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on the Iowa Trumpeter Swan project. We were one of the original cooperative breeders with the DNR, with a goal of putting Trumpeters back into the wild by releasing the offspring as we did with the Canadian Geese. The Trumpeter is truly a site to behold as it is the largest bird on the North American continent. Trumpeters can be as large as 35 pounds and have a wing span as wide as 8 feet. We presently have two breeding pairs on our ponds and have hatched as many as 5 cygnets per year. If you have never heard Trumpeters communicating you must stop by in the spring to hear the unbelievable sound of the Trumpeter Swan.
Now you know why we call our farm Wildlife Lakes Elk Farm. We have concentrated our efforts towards having breeding stock with strong genetic backgrounds. Our first herd bull was a Reed grandson brought down from Canada from the Cliff Begg herd. From there we selected a bull from the well known Legacy Deer Group of the Del Lange family.