Choosing a backyard goose breed
Geese are much larger than chickens and ducks, and can be intimidating to beginners. However, geese can be quite friendly. In fact, geese that are raised by an individual from the gosling stage may become very attached to their owner and defensive against newcomers. Adding a few geese to your backyard poultry hobby can be a fun and exciting experience.
Choosing the right goose breed can make all the difference for beginners. Much like chickens, the breed of goose should be selected according to the reasons you are raising geese. You also want a goose breed that is calm and not aggressive.
Backyard hobbyists who want geese for primarily egg-laying purposes will want a leaner bird that expends energy laying eggs rather than on packing on weight. The Chinese goose is an excellent option for these reasons. These gray geese are related to both the swan goose and the African goose and have an exceptional rate of lay. A healthy female Chinese goose may lay up to 60 eggs through the spring and summer months, which is well above the average rate in other breeds. Chinese geese are also not as flighty or aggressive as some other goose breeds.
Hobbyists who are raising backyard geese for slaughter will want a breed that has characteristics opposite that of the Chinese goose. The Embden goose breed is one of the most popular geese for meat. A white bird, the Embden goose puts on weight quickly and can reach an astounding weight of 30 pounds. Their white plumage also means the carcass is unmarked, unlike geese with dark feathers.
Individuals who are raising geese for mostly ornamental reasons will not care so much about a goose's ability to lay eggs or gain weight. However, they will still want a friendly and docile goose. Both the Chinese and Embden geese are great backyard breeds for the beginner. Additional breeds that can be quite friendly include the Toulouse and Pilgrim breeds. The breed you select in the end may be determined by the selection available from your local feed store. Regardless of the goose breed you choose, caring for your own backyard flock of geese can be a rewarding and unique experience. Geese are intelligent and friendly birds, and hobbyists of any age can appreciate them.
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