Goose breeding: this is how you breed geese – breeding season, sequence and rearing

Goose breeding has a very long tradition. It goes back a long way to ancient times. No wonder: the animals provide extremely tasty meat and lots of feathers. We humans like to use both to this day.

As typical grazing animals, they are relatively undemanding and easy to keep. They also fit perfectly in medium-sized gardens. And goose breeding itself is really no witchcraft – provided you pay attention to a few peculiarities of the animals.

Basis of goose breeding

The biggest sticking point in goose breeding is undoubtedly the fact that geese are monogamous in the wild. If one partner dies, the other continues to live alone without ever mating again. In the case of wild animals, this is usually not a problem either. However, if you want to build your own breeding as a self-sufficient, this behavior can quickly come to an end of your project. It is therefore particularly important to bring about a change in behavior right from the start. The best way to achieve this is that the ganter is mated with several geese in its first year of life. If one of the women dies prematurely, she can be replaced relatively easily by another, which the ganter then usually accepts.

Further requirements

As mentioned before, geese are grazing animals that eat lots of grass. Of course, grass not only plays a major role in animal nutrition in general, it also has an influence on the fertility of the ganter and on the supply of vitamins to the embryo in the egg. If there is not enough grass available, this puts breeding in serious danger. As a rough guide, one can say that ten geese a day eat about as much grass as a full-grown cow. It goes without saying that a corresponding area has to be reserved. A pair of geese therefore also needs around 400 to 500 square meters of pasture space. In other words: for successful breeding, the keeping conditions must always be right. And when breeding geese, they have a lot to do with an adequate supply of fresh grass. The supply of a water pond is also important. Since geese are known to be water birds, a pond in the garden would be ideal.

Suitable breeds

Basically, of course, all house geese breeds can be grown in the home garden. However, the effort involved can vary widely. Robust and medium to heavy breeds have proven to be relatively uncomplicated. Above all, these include:

  • Bavarian land goose
  • Diepholz goose
  • Emden goose
  • Franconian goose
  • Pomeranian goose
  • Czech goose

They are mainly characterized by the fact that they are relatively uncomplicated and hardly susceptible to diseases. Of importance for goose breeding: the female geese of these breeds always prove to be excellent breeders and mothers who look after their offspring with great devotion after they hatch. The fact that the animals also provide excellent meat is of course an advantage that should not be underestimated.

Mating

The goose breeding process is of course the same year after year. Everything starts with the mating of the animals. In the case of water birds, this typically takes place in the months of September and October, i.e. in early autumn. The sexual and thus the actual pairing, however, only takes place later. The geese usually choose the winter months of January and February for this. Anyone planning to slaughter one or the other goose during this phase should take them out of the herd early and separate them from the gander to prevent mating. Apart from that, you don’t have to worry about anything. The geese simply follow their natural instinct and do not need any human support.

Nest

The nest plays a central role in goose breeding. The eggs are laid in the nest and then hatched. Every goose builds its own nest. Unfortunately, it usually does this where it makes the most sense or where it is easiest. It doesn’t always have to be the safest place on the site. In order to reliably protect the animal and the eggs from predators such as the fox, the best place for the nest or nests is the stable – especially at night, of course. Even if geese can be very headstrong when it comes to nest building, they can still be guided. So it would be wise to create those conditions in the barn that brooding geese would attach particular importance to regardless of breeding. This includes:

  • sufficient straw
  • lots of water in the immediate vicinity
  • a quiet, not too bright place
  • Partition walls in the case of several nests

A goose does not need any support to build a nest either. She can do this instinctively and knows exactly what she is doing. The best thing is to just let them do it and not interfere as a holder. In contrast to the breeding of many other animals, goose breeding is therefore not very time-consuming and the entire process is quite simple.

Law period

After sexual mating with the gander, the goose begins to lay eggs. But she doesn’t lay all eggs at once. You can usually expect an egg to be laid about every two days. Consequently one speaks of a so-called laying period. How long this will take exactly cannot be said. In the first year after sexual maturity, the number of eggs per goose will be in the single digits. From the second year it can be up to 16 eggs. These figures should also be used for geese breeding. The first egg laid always remains in the nest. It is the so-called blind egg. Alternatively, it is also called a plaster egg. All subsequently laid eggs are removed and stored separately.

Express storage

Correct egg storage plays an important role when breeding geese. In principle, it is advisable to remove all eggs from the nest with the exception of the blind egg and to keep them in a protected place. The reason for this: In the months of February and March there can still be frosts which would damage the eggs. This also prevents excessive contamination of the eggs. The removed eggs are stored at a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius and turned 180 degrees once a day. In order for this to work reliably, it is best to mark both sides with a pencil – for example with the letters A and B. Regular turning prevents the yolk from sagging, which could prevent the egg from hatching. If the nest with the eggs is in an absolutely frost-proof and very clean stable, there is no need to remove the eggs. The goose then does the turning.

Incubation period and duration

When the goose is already breeding can be read from its behavior. As soon as it becomes sluggish and begins to tear out feathers to cushion the nest, the breeding season is imminent. If the eggs have been removed, they must now be returned to the nest. The number per nest should be limited to a maximum of twelve. The eggs do not necessarily have to come from the brooding goose. If you keep several animals for goose breeding, you can mix them up. The first egg, i.e. the blind egg, should definitely be removed as it is usually very dirty. The eggs must not be upside down in the nest, but actually have to lie. The incubation period is between 28 and 31 days. Usually the first chicks hatch after 28 days. Important for successful breeding: The goose must have a place to bathe during the breeding season in order to be able to clean itself. Otherwise there is no need to worry about the animals when breeding geese.

Hatching and rearing

Immediately after hatching, the chicks or gössel, as they are called, can still feed on their own egg. From the second day on, you can give food as part of the rearing process, but it should be very soft at first. We recommend green fodder from the start. Somewhat later, soaked grains can also be offered. When rearing the young, it is also important to have an adequate water supply. A shallow bowl is ideal for this, in which the young animals cannot drown. You should first keep them away from a pond. Their soft plumage would soak up and the goslings would inevitably drown. Otherwise, when breeding geese, you should monitor the freedom of the offspring in the first days of life in order to be able to protect the animals if necessary.

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