Goose Breeds for Your Farm


| 11/6/2015 11:13:00 AM


Tags: geese, goose breeds, Kirsten Lie-Nielsne, backyard poultry, Maine,

There are twelve breeds of geese currently recognized by the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection, and many more are bred around the world.  Some varieties have been specifically developed for certain tasks, such as long necked breeds for weeding and extra heavy breeds for meat.  Others are, for all intents, decorative birds.

Between the various breeds there are many personality differences and selecting the right breed for your farm will make a big difference in your enjoyment of your geese.  Here are just a few of the types you can find on farms today.

Chinese

Long and lean, Chinese geese are one of two varieties that are easily recognizable by the sizable knob on the upper side of their bills.  They are one of the lightest weight goose breeds, and carry themselves in a distinct, upright posture.  Chinese geese are some of the best egg layers in the goose family, sometimes laying upwards of 100 eggs in a year.  Because of their long, slender necks and voracious appetites, Chinese geese are the breed most commonly used for weeding.  The adult male weighs about 12lbs and both males and females are notoriously noisy.  They will honk piercingly at the sight of strangers or unusual activity on the farm, and enjoy conversing with their owners and fellow geese in constant, guttural mutters.  Because of this they are ideal watch dogs, and they can be aggressive towards newcomers.  Chinese geese are one of the most practical breeds for a working farm, laying plenty of eggs and keeping crops weed-free as well as providing an alarm system.  Since they are one of the noisier varieties, they are not ideal for an urban homestead.

 Female African goose

African

Closely related to Chinese geese, the so-called African actually traces its lineage more to Asia than any other continent.  African geese have the same distinctive knob as Chinese, but are much heavier.  Adults are close to 20lbs with a loose dewlap under their beaks and a full, smooth abdomen.  African geese lay about fifty eggs a year and are good foragers but less active than their Chinese cousins.  Males tend to be aggressive, a fact that makes them excellent guarding birds.  The knob on the African goose is susceptible to frostbite and they require shelter in cold weather.

Embden

An increasingly popular farmyard bird, Embdens are one of the larger breeds of goose and are enjoyed because of their wide range of talents.  Heavy and fast growing, they are good for meat production but can also lay around sixty eggs a year.  A full-bodied goose with more horizontal carriage than the African or Chinese, Embdens are white with orange bills and feet.  Embdens are noisy enough to be effective watchdogs, but are not constant talkers.  Being friendly and hardy has helped Embdens become a common sight on a lot of hobby farms.  




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