How to best rear geese
Geese are kept for their meat, eggs, and feathers.
They are the type of birds that can be reared for their ornamental value.
Geese are easy to maintain, resistant to diseases and mature faster compared to hens.
A male goose is known as a gander while a female is just a goose. Geese come in three colours - grey, black and white depending on the breed.
Geese breeds reared in Kenya as listed by farmbizafrica.com include Pilgrim, Egyptian geese, Steinbacher, Brecon buff, and Embden.
They take four to five months to mature.
Geese start laying eggs after two years and lay between 15 to 30 eggs per year, which hatch after 28 to 30 days.
The eggs are heavier and more nutritious than that of chicken.
They have cheaper feeding costs as they feed on grass, kitchen waste, vegetables, earthworms, spiders, lizards, and snails.
Geese should be provided with ample space to roam and select their preferred feed such as insects, green vegetation like weeds and tree barks. Geese are hence popularly known as “lawnmowers” notes farmbizafrica.com
Each goose requires at least 160g of feeds per day to enable them to mate and be in perfect health.
They should also be provided with adequate clean drinking water for healthy growth.
When younger, the goslings are first fed on chick crumbs then chick mash for four to six weeks, growers pellets for up to four months and layers mash for laying goose.
Apart from raising income, geese also aid at maintaining security by making loud noises whenever an intruder enters a home compound hence alerting the owners.
The birds also have strong and powerful saw-like beaks which they can use to attack.
Predators that attack them include wild cats, eagles, dogs, and mongoose. But the geese’s intimidating characteristic secures them.
Geese have web legged feet which enable them to swim thus require a water pool or pond.
According to media reports a mature goose can comfortably provide enough white meat to feed ten people.
Geese do not require complex housing like chicken but it should, however, be kept dry and clean with proper ventilation.
The birds can even survive outside as long as there is a good shade as living in caged environments stresses them slowing down their reproductive systems.
Regular vaccination is recommended. A veterinarian should come in often to check on the birds and ensure they are disease-free.
A farmer is advised not to mix geese with chicken as the former can be disease carriers of communicable illnesses such as Newcastle, fowl cholera which can easily be transmitted to chicken and wipe out entire flocks.
A farmer, however, needs a license from the Kenya Wildlife Service to keep the birds at their farm.
Patrick Ngigi a geese farmer, says a mature geese retail at Sh3,500 to 6,000 depending on the size and weight.