Geese farming in Nigeria is one of the unpopular and profitable ways of generating income from poultry farming. Geese can be classified under the same family of poultry as the duck. Geese are widely known to be a good source of protein from their meats and eggs.
Geese has a lot of economic importance, their feather serves as raw materials for industries making beddings, their feathers also serve as a mulching material on the farm.
Geese can also be used as a security animal on the farm because they have sharp eyes and unique memory. They also make a unique noise to alert as soon as they perceive a threat or an intruder.
The male is referred to as a goose; the female, a gander. Young birds before fledging are called goslings.
Characteristics of Geese
1. Geese are known for their good eyesight and the loud noises made by them.
2. They mate from September to October.
3. They can be referred to as both aquatic and terrestrial animals, because of their ability to live on both land and water.
4. They are faithful birds because they stick to one mate for their entire lifetime unless the mate dies.
5. They have an average life span of up to 10 – 20 years.
We have over 60 breeds of Geese in the world. Each with its specific usefulness.
Uses of Geese Farming in Nigeria
1. Provision of Protein: It’s an excellent protein source which they supply through their eggs and meat.
2. Feathers: The feathers are used in making clothing, bedding, upholstery materials, and mulching material
3. Weed Control: Geese serve as weed control. They help in ridding the weeds on the farm effectively.
4. Security Birds: They serve as security animals on the field. They have sharp eyes to spot predators and odd movements, making noise to serve as a security signal when an intruder is spotted.
Geese farming in Nigeria requires a careful selection of breeds needed for the right purpose. Meat-producing geese are different from egg-laying geese. These breeds can be classified into two:
1. Light Breed: These geese are known for their egg-laying nature. They’re the breed of geese reared to produce eggs for both subsistence and commercial use. They are capable of laying approximately 80 eggs per year. Some of the best egg-producing geese on the market today include the African, Chinese, Embden, standard Toulouse, and Buff. While these particular birds have been known to lay between 30 and 40 eggs during a season, keep in mind that even the best egg-laying goose will only produce from approximately May to September.
2. Heavy Breed: These are meat-producing geese. They’re raised specially for their meat. Some of the meat-producing geese also produce eggs but are not dependable because it’s not their main function. Many goose breeds have been carefully bred to mature at hefty weights, most notably the Dewlap Toulouse, which can grow up to 12 -14kg. The Embden, Pilgrim, standard Toulouse, and Buff are all medium-weight birds that do not require a lot of extra feed to grow to respectable weights between 7- 10kg.
Feeding of Geese
To ensure the efficiency of the production of geese, they need to be effectively fed and taken care of. The nutrients their feed contains primarily determines the state of the geese. The main food eaten by geese is grass. Free-range rearing requires the grass with good nutrients to be planted or allowed to grow naturally for the geese to feed on. You might also need to demarcate the crops from the geese, in such a way that they do not destroy the crops or overfeed. Geese feed on varieties of food, including; insects, a mixture of pellets and wheat, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, etc. Clean water should also be provided to gaggle at all times. Remember to replace old feed. To not get Mouldy.
Housing of Geese
Though geese can practically fend for themselves, they need to be housed well and put in the right conditions to get optimal yield from them.
Every 4 geese should be provided with a 14ft x 20ft (4.3m x 6.1m) enclosure. It should be a covered and safe-free predator zone. This area is where the geese would sleep at night. If the geese are increased in number, the area needs to be increased according to the enclosure. Ideally, geese housing should be provided with enough space, an adequate pool of water, and protection from harsh weather. The floor of the house needs to be covered with shavings and sawdust. It should be noted that hay or straw beddings, shouldn’t be used.
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