The Buff goose, noted for its exceptional parental abilities, has a calm and serene nature. However, it is an exceptionally rare poultry breed on the verge of extinction.
Slow Food USA includes the Buff goose on its Ark of Taste as a heritage food facing extinction.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has listed the bird as critical on its conservation priority list — mainly because there were no more than 500 breeding American Buffs in 2003 and only five breeding flocks.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive breed profile for you if you plan on rearing or breeding these geese on your farm.
Table of Contents
Origin and History of the Buff Goose Breed
The Buff goose originated from the Greylag goose, a large bird known for its distinctive grey plumage, and orange beak and legs.
The Greylag goose is a bird from Northern Asia and Europe.
We still do not know how breeders crossbred or mutated the Greylag goose to produce the Buff goose with its apricot or fawn coloring.
The intention of creating a bird with a peaceful disposition likely drove the development of the light yellowish orange to tan goose.
Then, in 1947 the American Poultry Association formally recognized the poultry breed. Today, people mainly keep Buff geese for their meat and eggs.
Characteristics and Traits of the Buff Goose Breed
The Buff goose’s body conformation is very European, just like its ancestors. It is the largest breed of medium-class geese.
However, it has these physical characteristics:
- Mature ganders weigh 18 pounds, while females weigh 16 pounds.
- It has a broad chest and a plump, rounded body.
- It has two rounded, fatty lobes on the abdomen.
- It has a medium-long, graceful neck that it holds erect with deeply furrowed feathers and a short tail.
- The feathers have a slight sheen, and the color is even across the body, wings, and tail.
- Its wings are strong and well-developed, enabling it to fly short distances if necessary.
- Its hue is unique and has a distinct uniform plumage, ranging from a light yellowish orange to a darker golden brown, with a soft, downy texture. Most other wild and domesticated geese have combinations of gray, white, and black.
- It has a bright orange bill and orange legs and feet. But their legs may fade to pink while laying eggs or when green grass is unavailable.
- The bill is broad and flat, with a slight upward curve at the tip. It has small serrations on the edges that help the goose to grip and tear food.
- It has deep brown eyes that give it an alert and intelligent expression. It has a well-proportioned body, with a broad breast and a deep, round abdomen.
Also, Buff geese have a calm and friendly disposition, which makes them popular for small farms and backyard flocks.
They are also highly prized for their tender and flavorful meat.
Other Buff goose characteristics include the following:
The Buff goose is a peaceful and gentle bird. Buff geese are also curious and intelligent, so keep them in a fenced-in area, so they don’t get into mischief.
These geese make excellent pets. They are friendly, nice to people, and enjoy the company of other geese.
Aggressiveness and Protectiveness
Buff geese are not aggressive birds and are not likely to harm people or other animals unless provoked or attacked.
However, they are ferociously protective of their goslings and will sound the alarm if anything threatens them.
Also, the Buff geese’s calm disposition makes it possible to hatch and raise goslings of different breeds effectively.
Intelligence and Trainability
Buff geese are intelligent birds that quickly learn and respond well to positive reinforcement training.
Plus, these geese can learn various tricks and behaviors.
Buff geese are generally quiet birds.
They communicate with various honks, grunts, and hisses, which can be pretty loud if they feel threatened or excited.
Buff Goose Care
Housing and Fencing
Buff geese need a safe, predator-proof enclosure to defend themselves against foxes, dogs, and raccoons.
They don’t need ample space to roam, but they need enough protection from the weather, such as a coop or a shed.
Though Buff geese require a dry, draft-free environment, these hardy birds can tolerate cold weather.
Feeding and Nutrition
Since Buff geese are grazers, they require a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, pellets, and fresh greens.
They also enjoy a variety of grasses, herbs, slugs, snails, crustaceans, insects, and weeds.
Health and Disease Prevention
Below are some frequent illnesses and health problems that Buff geese may experience, along with their symptoms and remedies:
Aspergillosis is a fungal illness that can infect Buff geese. Frequent causes are fungus (mold), introduced due to poor ventilation, wet conditions, unclean eggs, or incubator equipment.
The disease affects the respiratory system and has the potential to penetrate the egg shell.
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing with gurgling or rattling noises
To prevent aspergillosis, you should provide a dry, clean, and well-ventilated environment for the geese.
Goose parvovirus, commonly known as Derzy’s illness, is highly contagious. It is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs.
Some symptoms are:
- Skin turns reddish
- Increased thirst due to dehydration
- Frequent white diarrhea
- Swollen eyes, eyelashes, and nasal discharge
- Reduced activity and appetite
- Poor weight gain and growth
For prevention, keep the geese in a clean and dry environment. Also, separate brooding or hatching geese from different flocks.
If you can, avoid it altogether. But if you can’t, quarantine new birds before introducing them to the gaggle.
Fowl cholera is a contagious bacterial infection that can cause severe mortality in Buff geese.
Contaminated water or food frequently transmits fowl cholera.
However, before the goose dies, it exhibits the following symptoms:
- Depression and lethargy
- Reduced appetite and activity levels
- Ruffled feathers
- Inflammation of the joints
- Labored breathing, coughing, and secretion from the eyes and nostrils
To prevent fowl cholera, remove the infected Buff goose and sanitize the coop where you keep your birds.
You also need to contact a veterinarian, who will prescribe antibiotics to reduce mortality. Antibiotics won’t eliminate the infections, however.
When a Buff goose consumes moldy or dirty feed, it develops mycotoxicosis.
But it can be challenging to identify due to the variety of mycotoxins that can cause the condition.
Furthermore, while some mycotoxins may not cause noticeable symptoms in geese, they may affect their overall health and immune function.
A veterinarian may perform blood tests, liver function tests, or histological studies of tissues to determine the extent of mycotoxin damage.
However, depending on the level of contamination, Buff geese may display the following symptoms:
- Reduced appetite and activity levels
- Weight loss
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Paralysis or tremors
An infected goose also has a higher chance of contracting many other diseases.
To prevent mycotoxicosis, feed your geese high-quality, protein-rich, mold and pollutant-free feed. Soluble vitamins and copper sulfate could also help. A veterinarian must, however, determine the dosage.
Buff geese can suffer from coccidiosis, a parasitic disease that affects the kidneys and intestines.
Renal coccidiosis symptoms include dull, sunken eyes; weakness; dropped wings; and depression.
In contrast, intestinal coccidiosis is not fatal. However, an infected Buff goose will exhibit anorexia, diarrhea, and a shaky gait.
To prevent coccidiosis, as with most Buff geese infections, keep the geese in a clean and dry environment and practice good hygiene and sanitation.
Paratyphoid is a bacterial infection caused by the Salmonella bacterium.
A Paratyphoid-infected buff goose stands in one position, eyes closed, head lowered, feathers ruffled, and wings drooping.
Other symptoms of paratyphoid in buff geese may include:
- Loss of appetite
Paratyphoid treatment entails removing all infected Buff geese and then sanitizing your coop. You should take extra care when cleaning the hatching eggs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Buff Goose
The following table list some possible benefits and drawbacks of owning a Buff goose:
|1. Attractive and friendly||1. Requires adequate space and housing|
|2. Docile and calm temperament||2. Can be noisy and messy|
|3. Good foragers and weed control||3. Can be aggressive during the breeding season|
|4. Good egg and meat production||4. Requires regular care and maintenance|
|5. Can learn basic activities through observation, trial and error, and repetition||5. Can be susceptible to various diseases.|
Where to Buy and Costs
You can buy Buff geese from the following places and have your gaggle in no time:
- Hilltop Farms. Goslings ranging in age from one to six days are available for purchase on their website for $22. However, you must purchase more than four goslings.
- Myers Poultry. Buff goose sells for $21.08, but they sell by gender, with the female being more expensive at $44.21 per gosling.
- Global Poultry Co Ltd. A Buff goose costs between $25.95 and $39.37.
- Metzer Farm. This farm is a little pricey because they sell a gander (male Buff goose) for $29.51 but females for $61.89 at 1 to 15 days old.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find the answers to some frequently asked questions about buff geese here.
Yes. Buff geese are docile and friendly birds and can make good pets, as they are generally calm as well as easy to handle.
The Buff goose is a heritage food that is in danger of extinction, according to Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste
On the conservation priority list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the bird is on the critical species list.
Buff geese are primarily kept for their meat and eggs, though you can use them as pets and exhibit animals.
No, Buff geese cannot fly. Under certain favorable conditions, such as a strong tailwind and a downhill slope, they may still be able to become airborne and fly short distances.
The buff goose is a special poultry breed that is nearly extinct, so you will help in its conservation if you decide to keep it.
And as you enjoy its sweet meat and eggs, you’ll be indulging in a heritage food that is quite rare.
The information above will help you with everything you need to know when you’re rearing Buff geese.