Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Rearing Goslings

for pet, exhibition + meat

Goslings, Geese

I know most do not eat their pets but some do so all information has to be included

Heavy goose breeds
Good mums but may be clumsy often best left to hatch then rear  yourself .All these breeds like deeper water and love  swimming and splashing ( aka making a mess!) 
African       American Buff      Embden      Toulouse

Medium goose breeds

 Many of thesebreeds prefer shallowwater to bathe and splash rather than swim so make sure they can exitthe water easily.
 Brecon      Buff back /Grey Back,       Pomeranian       West of England

Lighter goose breeds
Goose breeds are usually grouped into 3 weight classes: Heavy, Medium and Light.  The light are often the higher laying breeds more suitable for less space and more efficient in food use
Chinese,    Deipolz    Pilgrim      Roman     Sebastopol,      Steinbacher

**Main rule on geese talk to them as they respond to the voice not by sight so if an aggressive male gets cross simply hold out your arms and advance he  sees a giant goose and retreats. To keep them happy when sitting feed the gander first NOT the goose as his job is to protect her . . . she gets hormonal. . . he gets cross. He will often hiss at visiting male humans as he is so dim he sees them as a sexual threat taking his female. . . 99% of the time a warning but it is the only time thay can get fractious.**

Meat: All geese in the heavy and medium weight classes are good utility birds. The most common geese raised for meat are the Embden, Toulouse, and Pilgrim.

African geese adults can weigh up to 20 pounds, are grayish brown with a lighter breast, black beak, orange legs and feet and a black knob on their head. They are particularly noisy and have dark pinfeathers, so are more difficult to pluck because bits of pinfeathers are difficult to see against the dark skin.

Embdens, large white geese, are better at sitting on eggs than Toulouse. They are good breeders, and their white pinfeathers make them easier to pluck.

Pilgrim geese are fast growing, efficient meat producers. This is the only breed in which the sexes are different – females grey with a white breast and hazel eyes, males white with blue eyes. This very docile, medium-sized breed makes a good weeder.

 Romans are small, talkative geese with round bodies and enough meat to butcher.

Toulouse is the largest breed of geese; the Mammoth Dewlap strain can reach 26 pounds. Its back is dark gray, chest light gray, bill pale yellow, and the shanks and feet are red to orange. Not used for meat but as a crossing breed to produce meat breeds

Goose meat is darker (including the breast), fuller bodied, better flavoured than most turkey. It is fatter than duck. Of all fowl, goose meat offers the most opportunities to match with fine wine. Most associate Christmas goose with Victorian England. During the 19th century, in England,geese were served (like practically all other animals) at an older age than those of today -; up to nine months as opposed to four to six months. Older birds are tougher and the meat must be tenderized before cooking or slow 'range" cooked in the Aga or Rayburn

Geese have been spared "improved breeding", because unlike turkeys, cross breeding geese is much more difficult; many are totally dissimilar shapes and many will only mate with similar stock The natural cycle of raising geese is still intact: hatching, between April and July, and slaughter in September. White English, Toulouse and Chinese geese are the most popular with goose farms. Most geese are fed a mixture of corn, wheat and soybeans, although a few farmers feed their animals with vegetables including salads 

Mature geese carcasses weigh 18 - 19 lbs. ( 8 - 9 kg) althoughyoung animals weighing 10 - 14 lbs ( 4 1Ú2 to 5 1Ú2 Kg) are more popular . The yieldimproves with mature animals. Free-range fresh geese tend to be more tender and better flavoured than frozen. Goose contains a high proportion of fat and must be properly cooked .You can either blanch the bird for a few minutes, and prick the skin to release the fat, or 'crisp" the carcass in the refrigerator for a week, or roast for four hours at 250F (125C) in a convection oven, or start roasting at 475F (235C) for 15 minutes and reduce the heat to 375F  (180C)until done. Obviously, the bird must be basted frequently to prevent drying.

Dual Purpose Geese that can be used for meat and egg production are the African, Sebastopol, American Buff, Saddleback Pomeranian, Chinese,  Roman,  with the Embden, Toulouse, and African all attaining adult weights in excess of 19 pounds.

American Buffs are a light buff color with a white chest. They reach 14 to 18 pounds and have light colored pin feathers. These nicely behaved birds, easy to work with, are good grazers and are recommended as weeders but hard to come by as their size like all heavy geese means they breed less.

The most popular breeds for small flocks are Embden, Toulouse, African, Chinese, and Pilgrim.

Chinese geese can be white or brown. The whites have an orange knob and bill; browns have russet brown feathers, a brown head, a dark brown knob and bill. They weigh 8 to 12 pounds and are productive egg layers. Their long neck makes them swanlike and good at weeding around plants, putting their head out through the fence to plunder the garden,steal from other pens etc etc

Angel Wing In Ducks And Geese

Angel wing, also known as slipped wing, crooked wing, airplane wing, or drooped wing, is a condition of ducks and geese where the last joint of the wing is twisted and the wing feathers point out, and do not lay smooth against the body. This happens more in goslings than ducks  with large breeds and Muscovy more prone than Calls. It is more common in geese and typically in either the left wing or both wings, only rarely in the right wing only. Males develop it more than females. The birds that develop the problem are perfectly healthy, they are just not as nice looking.

Due to a high-calorie diet, especially one high in proteins and/or low in vitamin D, vitamin E, and manganese, one or both carpus (wrist) joints are retarded in their development relative to the rest of the wing; for reasons unknown, if only one wing is affected, it is usually the left one. The result is a wrist which is twisted outwards and unable to perform its usual function. Angel wing symptoms include stripped remiges (flight feathers) in the wrist area, or remiges protruding from wings at odd angles. In extreme cases, the stripped feathers may resemble sickly blue straws protruding from wings.

 You see, waterfowl that normally mature in the Arctic environment do not show any angel wing because of their naturally fast growth. It does appear, however, in those species that come from a more temperate environment where they grow slower under natural feeding conditions. But by feeding them unlimited, high protein, high energy feed, they grow unnaturally fast and their wing weight seems to outgrow the strength of the wing to support it. Theorized causes of angel wing are genetics, the excessive intake of carbohydrates and proteins,together with insufficient intake of vitamin E, low dietary calcium and manganese deficiency.  Further proof that this may be the cause can be found in an article that said"If their wings start drooping they are put on a diet of alfalfa; grass or layers pellets (instead of Chick Growers) until the condition clears up."

The only wild waterfowl populations known to be affected are those fed by man. In Sweden, ten different park populations of Canada geese produced angel wing. The following year one flock was not fed any artificial feed and there were no angel wing goslings produced.

Try not to feed high protein, high energy feed (such as turkey feed), provide plenty of room for exercise, keep in small groups, provide plenty of grass or green feed and keep the pen dark at night if possible so less eating occurs.  If you do notice a twisted wing, however, you can form a sling to hold the wing in place to allow proper development. If really bad and hindering the birds life or in a long lived goose like a Toulouse it can be removed by the vet and will look to be pinioned. Normally this will not breed and pass on with possible exceptions in Sebastopols who seem to pass the trait on.

 Breed Standards . . .  first , second third get a copy of the Poultry Club Standards (for  your Country) here it is done by the Poultry club of Great Britain . . if not sure  try an old fashioned thing borrow a library version. Alternatively read online at   (2009 edition)   It is expensive , heavy , crammed with facts and the best buy you will ever make. . .  if poorer hit ebay and get an older one as the standards get tweaked and get better pics/more information but are still pretty much that same through the years. They still have not added my suggestion for all Muscovies to have a pedicure before shows to stop me being grabbed by those claws if cross  but I can hope

Useless Facts area

1. Goose Quills and Feathers

In the countryside people used to use goose quills for the teats for bottle feeding orphan lambs until as late as the second war and for fishing floats. In the Victorian country house a house maids box always contained a few large goose pinions for dusting ledges and carved picture frames. A stiff trimmed goose pinion was also kept by the lady's maid for taking dust from velvet in the days before a dry cleaner did the same job. Quills were also used as valves and indicators for brewers in the fermenting bottles by the rise and fall of the liquid in the quill they could see the progress of the brew. The more well known usage of painters and artists was to use a large quill to hold their brushes of camel/sable or beaver hair . The size of watercolour and other brush handles has still not altered and they can still be used for this. One brush for lettering work and miniatures is still made to order from a single tuft of the curled tail feathers of a drake.

For the historically minded here are the instructions for making a quill pen from the Young Mans Companion of the mid eighteenth century.......... Take the first or second quill of a goose wing, and scrape it, and hold it in your lef thand , with the feather end from you. Beginning even with the back , cut a small piece off sloping , then make a slit , enter the knife in the midst of the first cut , and slit the quill up so far as you desire it .When the slit is done ,m cut away a piece from the other side , and fashion the nib by cutting off both sides equally. Place the nib on the nail of your left thumb, and draw the edge (end ?) into it halfway through ,then turn it and turn the edge down , and cut it off. Let your ink be thin ,and your paper be white and well gummed. Rub your paper lightly with gumrack , beaten fine and tied up with a linen cloth - which makes the paper bear the ink better and the pen run moresmoothly."

Their other major claim to fame is that the feather helped Sir Isaac Newton to write his first work on light and colour refraction . If you hold a feather to the sun and look through it the barbs on it distort the light like a prism andshow a rainbow effect.

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