A History of Geese as Guard Animals and for Weed Control

| 10/13/2015 12:54:00 PM

Tags: geese, poultry, livestock protection, raising livestock, Kirsten Lie Nielsen,

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Domesticated over 3,000 years ago, geese were some of the first animals to become part of humans everyday lives. While they have been a barnyard constant since Roman times, geese have never gained the popularity of backyard flocks like ducks and chickens.

The uses of geese in ancient and modern times are numerous: The first records of domestic geese show them being fattened and butchered for food and sacrifice, but by Roman times, geese were also being raised for their eggs and carefully bred for specific traits such as calm personalities or luxurious feathers.

Geese as Guard Animals

Geese came to the forefront of Roman life in 390 BC. Sacred to the goddess Juno, a flock of geese that were kept in her temple noticed a troop of Gauls sneaking up the hill to attack the city of Rome. The alarmed honks of the geese awoke the Roman guards who attacked the invaders and successfully defended their city.

Geese are still used as guard animals in many parts of the world today. Unable to be bribed with treats and exceptionally loud, geese have keener eyesight and hearing than humans and will not miss a potential strangers intruding. They are currently used throughout China's Xinjiang province to guard police stations, and in West Germany, geese were on guard duty at to guard U.S. military bases.

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