Poultry farming is quite popular in Nigeria. However, when most people think of poultry, the default birds that come to mind are chicken and turkey. Interestingly, the rearing of geese, another poultry bird is a quite lucrative yet not many people about these birds.
Geese share the same family with ducks but their method of rearing is different from that ducks. Geese have many benefits, some of which include the provision of an excellent protein source through their eggs and meat. Additionally, the feathers of geese are useful in making clothing, bedding and upholstery.
Also, geese can help farmers in weed control. They can help get rid of the weeds on the farm quite efficiently. Additionally, these birds can serve as security birds. They have an excellent memory and sharp eyes to spot predators. They also tend to make a lot of noise which can serve as a security signal when they spot intruders.
Generally, geese are quite interesting birds and below are some quick facts about them.
- Geese have an average long life span of up to 20 – 30 years
- Geese usually stick to one mate for their entire lifetime. However, death of the mate means they have to look for another mate
- Their mating season is between September to October
- Geese can live on both land and water.
- Geese have great eyesight and a raucous voice which they put to good use when warding off predators and intruders
One peculiar problem with rearing geese is the fact that these birds make a lot of noise and you may not be able to rear them if you can’t withstand loud noise. Also, geese are birds that children may like to play with them, you should always be careful in this case because these birds can be aggressive and can attack these children.
Generally, geese are easy to maintain and they tend to grow very fast. This means that you can easily start your geese farming on very little capital. However, you still need some guidance in rearing geese the right way which is provided in this article.
The first step in geese farming is to select the breed you’d like to rear. Generally, geese breeds are divided into light, medium and heavy. One of the most-preferred breeds when it comes to laying egg is the light breed. The light breed is of Chinese origin and it’s a good security due to its extreme noise making. Also, this breed is capable of producing up to 80 eggs per year. The heavy breed is better for meat production since they weigh heavier but produce less number of eggs.
Some of the commonly reared geese breeds include the heavy Embden and the American Buff breeds. These breeds produce very good quality meat when properly fed. The Embden is one of the breeds that have been able to adapt to the tropical environment. It is known for its glossy feathers and light blue colour.
If you’re a starter, a good option will be the Roman or Roman Tufted breeds. These birds are white in color and you can start with 10 birds at a male to female ratio of 1:5. They are all-rounder especially with egg and meat production. They produce good quality meat and can produce up to 60 eggs per year.
Ideally, the breed of goose you rear for commercial value should offer certain important qualities. These include their rate of growth, their color and the quantity of eggs they produce. Generally, commercial breeds are white; tend to grow quite quickly and produce at least 50 eggs per annum.
The ideal housing for geese should provide enough space, adequate pool of water and protection from harsh weather.
Although, geese can practically fend for themselves and need little or no supervision, when rearing these birds, you’d need to put the right conditions in place to get optimal yield from your venture.
The housing required by geese shouldn’t be too complicated. It can be an open house system or a wooden box. They just need a place that is safe and aerated, with sufficient breeding space.
You can cover the flooring of the house with wood shavings and sawdust. Don’t use hay or straw beddings.
Additionally, the housing system should have a pond section. This is because geese like to mate on water. The absence of this pond will lead to the birds hatching unfertilized eggs.
The main food eaten by geese is grass. Hence, you can rear your geese along with your crops although you may need to put some demarcations in place to prevent them from feeding on your crops. Also, geese feed on varieties of food. These include snails and all kinds of insects. You can also feed them with a mix of wheat and pellets. It is best served in a big bowl of water and it helps to aid easy digestion. The food should be given daily and in a large quantity. Proper feeding helps to increase the quality of meat and egg produced by your birds.
Finally, it is important that the water trough is properly constructed in other to prevent the house from being wet. A moist floor can serve as a breeding ground for diseases.
Geese might be simple animals in terms of behaviour, but the farmer ought to possess the right technical know to successful rear these birds. This article has provided an extensive overview from breed selection to the housing and care of these birds. However, you may still need to speak to fellow geese farmers and other experts to enable you get as much information in order to successfully rear these birds.
Generally, rearing of geese is an interesting and lucrative venture, but you’ll need to be committed and meticulous to ensure that this venture yields the success you anticipate. You can always start small and as you achieve one level of success you can scale up the business.