The African goose breed is one of the fastest growing and hardy breeds, making it popular across the world.
This majestic breed has so many uses and is easy to care for, so you are not wrong if you choose to raise this breed. What do you need to know about the African goose?
Read this article to learn the full facts about the beautiful breed.
Table of Contents
History and Origin
Something ironic about this goose is that even though it has “Africa” in its name, it does not originate from Africa.
This goose is a descendant of Chinese and Swan geese, unlike Greylags, which other goose breeds descended from. Most people believe that the African geese originated in China.
In France, the African goose is called L’oie Africaine. In 1974, the African geese became recognized in the American Standard of Perfection and is currently a popular breed in the American Poultry Association.
One of the first things that you’ll see in the African geese is the knob that grows above their beak. The birds also grow their dewlap very slowly, as it can take them up to 12-36 months before the dewlaps are well-formed. The dewlap is the fatty or folded skin in front of the neck of some animals such as geese and cattle.
These majestic birds can reach heights of 3 feet tall or around 1 meter. That’s large, right? As for their weight, the gander can weigh up to 22-26 pounds (10-12.7 kg) while the goose usually weighs around 17-24 pounds ( 8.2-10.9 kg). Note that African geese are among the largest domestic geese in the world.
Their most common color is gray with a touch of brown. However, they can also be buff or white, depending on the region and breeder.
These birds lay up to 20-40 white eggs per annum. This number may seem very low to you, especially if you are already used to other birds such as chickens.
However, geese do not lay as many eggs as chickens. Well, it is worth noting that the Chinese geese, which are relatives to African geese, lay more eggs.
The eggs of African geese can weigh up to 5-8 ounces, and in 30-32 days after the mother goose lays eggs, the eggs will hatch into goslings.
African geese can live ten to fifteen years so long as everything is just right. By “everything is just right,” we mean:
- Suitable housing: When the geese are not exposed to extreme temperatures and other environmental factors.
- Quality feeds: Give your geese feeds that are rich in proteins and other vital nutrients so that they will not get sick.
- Regular monitoring: Remember to check on the birds and provide whatever they need when you see that they need it.
- Proper care: Making sure that the birds stay happy.
So long as your geese are happy, they will live a long life.
It is not difficult to distinguish between male and female African geese. The females are usually stockier and have a larger keel. The keel is that ridge along the chest of the birds (below their necks) where some muscles are attached.
The males have a higher pitched call than the females and are usually larger, so the one with a faster growth rate who happens to also be noisier is most likely male.
Behavior and Temperament
Despite the large size of this beautiful breed, it has a very calm temperament. Your geese will not fight other birds (unless heavily provoked) and you can keep as many birds as you want so long as there is enough food and other resources.
However, note that geese are noisy and may disturb you a lot if you raise them as pets.
African geese are mostly used for meat production. However, they are also crossed with other breeds to produce large offspring for meat production. All over the world, some people keep African geese as pets, since they are very beautiful birds.
African geese can weigh up to 18-20 pounds when they have grown and matured. These birds are fast-growing, so you do not need to wait years before they reach adulthood to get your desired weight.
This goose’s meat is delicious, like other breeds, and you’d surely want more.
Meat production is the most popular use of African geese, especially in countries where goose meat is highly desirable. While most geese are large, the African geese are among the largest breeds, so they naturally will be used for meat production.
For Crossing With Other Breeds
The Toulouse breed is the most commonly crossed with the African geese to produce large offspring.
Farmers usually cross the African geese with other heavier goose breeds so that the offspring can get the desired size from the other breed and the desired growth rate from the African geese.
Most of the hybrids of African geese were bred for meat production. However, some are used as pets, especially for people who love large birds.
Breeding African geese with others is not difficult, you only need to raise a male of the African goose with a female of the other geese in the same coop.
Used as a Broody
A broody is a female bird used to incubate eggs.
If you are growing your African geese with other female geese or other birds that lay many eggs yearly, you can use your African as a broody.
When the goose is incubating her eggs, place more eggs into the nest so that she can incubate all at once. This will save you a lot of money that you’d have spent on incubators or power.
African geese also make great moms, so if you like, you can leave them to care for the hatched goslings or chicks. However, it is best practice to raise the chicks by yourself so that you can intensively care for them and feed them with very nutritious foods so that they can grow quickly.
As a Pet
Don’t you just love the majesty of this beautiful breed?
African geese make great pets because they are large and have a very calm temperament. What’s also cool about them is that you can use them as a guard dog replacement because they have territorial behavior, especially when your yard is large.
African geese may be large and look expensive to raise, but they aren’t.
They can eat grasses and bugs found on grasses. They are also hardy and have very few diseases, so you will not spend so much on medicines.
Lastly, even though they are loud like other geese, they will not scare your visitors away and will allow people to pet them.
Hatching and Raising
Like other birds, you’ll need to hatch the eggs of your African geese first before you can raise them from goslings to adults. To successfully raise them, you must consider housing them in a comfortable coop as well as giving them nutritious foods for fast growth.
The two common ways to hatch African geese eggs are:
- Using an incubator: Incubators are quite easy to use. You just need to turn the eggs regularly and make sure that the incubator has access to power so that it can continue to work even at night.
- Leaving the eggs to be incubated by a mother bird: This is the natural method and will save you a lot of money. However, the hatch rate may be lower than when you use an incubator.
Whichever method you choose to use is fine, just check the eggs regularly by candling them so that you can monitor their growth inside.
Something awesome about African geese is that you can rear them in all climates.
A standard coop should be 3 feet by 2 feet per bird. Since you need to raise at least two birds (i.e., male and female), the coop should be at least 6 feet by 4 feet.
Just make sure that the coop is large enough for the two birds. Also, put their safety into consideration, as must protect your geese from predators.
While African geese are large, they are mostly docile and cannot protect themselves, so remember to check on them regularly. Also, note that they are loud birds, so you may want to keep the coop away from your home or the house of your neighbors so that no one will complain about the noise.
To help your geese grow healthy and quickly, you need to give them quality feeds. Here are some things that they can eat:
- Bird mash: Just in case you are new to raising geese, you should start with formulated feeds because they will give your geese just get the right amount of every nutrient that they need.
- Grains: Grains are super nutritious and some grains such as corn will keep your geese warm in cold seasons. Grains will also help to fatten your birds.
- Bugs and invertebrates: Every bird loves bugs, so give your African geese a lot of bug treats. You can also give them earthworms and other little critters that you can get.
- Items from free-range farming: Just give your geese an open space with grass and other plants. They will search for food by themselves. They will also avoid harmful foods.
- Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables will give your geese a lot of nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals. They are also delicious and make great treats for the geese.
It is good practice to give grits to your geese so that you can digest their foods with ease. Just make the grit available; they will eat as many as they want whenever they want.
African geese are truly majestic birds that you should raise. It does not matter why you want to raise these geese, you will surely enjoy your experience with them, as they are hardy and calm. Remember to make use of the tips in this article so that you can have a problem-free experience when growing your geese.