Choosing the Right Breed of Goose
Geese unlike chickens are not being raised intensively, finding breeds locally can be a challenge. There are both wild and domesticate geese. Though the domestic breeds are generally more tame, that doesn’t mean they won’t get grouchy on you especially during breeding time. When choosing the right breed of goose to keep, it is important to understand first what they can be raised for. Geese are generally kept for meat, though they are also useful for eggs, ornamental purpose, for their down feathers, or as intelligent pets serving as lawn mowers and guard dogs. Geese are classified into 4 categories: ornamental, light, medium, and heavy.
I will detail some of the traits of the more common breeds of goose that you should be able to find. Geese are a great animal for a small family, picking the right breed is not as hard as picking a chicken breed. Chickens have become very specialized that many breed have only one or two desirable traits. Every goose breed is of adequate size to be worthwhile for meat and down production. They are almost all good to great foragers, which helps in keeping down feed costs.
The embden goose breed is white in color with orange beak. Embden geese at maturity will weigh from 20lbs (female) to 30 pounds (male) and lay approximately 40 eggs per year each weighing about 150 grams. That equates to about three times as large as a chicken egg. They are known to be calm. The fertility is about 80% and the females are known to be good mothers.
French Toulouse geese are grey and white coloring with an orange beak. At maturity Toulouse will weight 20lbs (female) to 26lbs (male). They lay about 30 eggs per year, and you can assume the weight to be close to the embden in weight. They are known to be calm with a 85% fertility rate and also are good mothers. Toulouse geese do not mix well with other geese breeds; they tend to separate themselves especially when mixed with more aggressive breeds.
The Chinese Brown goose is also a popular breed that is about half the size of the embden and lays approximately 40 eggs per year as well. They have an 85% fertility rate but do not make good mothers. They tend to be noisy so this is only a good breed to have if your neighbors are not close to you. They are exceptional foragers, in some cases known to live entirely on forage alone.
The Pomeranian goose will lay 70 eggs per year making the best of this group and will weigh 14lbs (female) to 18lbs (male). They are white with a spattering of grey and their meat is known to be of better quality than most. Fertility is lower than the other breeds but they do make good mothers. They are a friendly breed of goose.
If an ornamental goose is what you are looking for, than try either the Sebastopol or Egyptian goose breeds. Their plumage is very unique and beautiful. Whichever breed you do choose I am sure you will find them to be more carefree than other forms of poultry you might raise. And generally will cost the least compared to the amount of meat and eggs they produce.