The African goose is a massive bird. Its heavy body, thick neck, stout bill, and jaunty posture give the impression of strength and vitality. Its name is not indicative of its place of origin. Historical studies show that African geese have been known by many names, and its origin has been attributed to many continents. It seems to have arrived in North America on ships that traveled around the world so its exact origin is ambiguous.
It’s known, however, that the African is a relative of the Chinese goose, both descending from Asia’s wild swan geese. The physical differences between the substantial African and the lithe Chinese goose demonstrate the effect of selective breeding.
In northern climates, it is recommended the African geese be provided shelter as their knobs have a tendency to become frostbitten if not given sufficient protection from the cold. If the knob is frostbit, spots may turn orange but then the knob returns to black once the tissue is completely healed the following year. African geese are similar to Chinese geese in that they are a bit noisier than other breeds. They are a beautiful goose and are very active foragers.
They are good egg producers with above average fertility. There are two recognized breeds of colored geese from China, the African and Brown Chinese Geese. Our African are midsized between these two and are a very common goose. If you want the larger, show-type African goose with a pronounced dewlap, you want our Super African Geese.
Uses: Crossed with Toulouse for meat production, sometimes as a broody.
Eggs: 20 to 40 white eggs per year.
Origin: Possibly China.
Weight: Gander: 10 – 12.7 Kg. Goose: 8.2 – 10.9 Kg.
Colours: Brown / Grey (most common), Buff, White.
Useful to Know: The dewlap is slow to develop in some African Geese, taking 12 to 36 months to develop fully. Usually a gentle breed, despite their size.
African Geese are some of the largest domestic geese, the Ganders weighing up to 12.7Kg. They are close relatives of Chinese Geese and have a similar ‘knob’ above their beak, being a descendent of the Swan Goose (rather than the Greylag that other breeds of geese are descended from). They lay far less eggs than Chinese geese, normally producing somewhere between 20 and 40 eggs per year.
Despite the confusing name, African Geese are believed to originate from China. African’s are often crossed with Toulouse Geese to create a commercial hybrid bird used for meat. African geese normally have a very docile temperament. The geese tend to be stockier, with a larger keel than the gander who also has a higher pitched call than the goose and is usually larger in size.
In France, the African Goose is called L’oie Africaine. The Brown / Grey was standardized in the UK in 1982, the Buff in 1999 and the White in 1982. The African goose entered the American Standard of Perfection in 1874.
The average lifespan of these birds is between 10 and 15 years.
These vegetarian geese feed mostly on seeds and grasses, however being domesticated they are mainly fed on commercialy available bird feeds.
Groups and Breeding.
On average the females will lay between 10 and 20 eggs per season however some American breeders have reported as many as 40 eggs per season. These birds seem happiest when kept in pairs or trios, as opposed to keeping them in larger flocks.
This goose is fairly commonly bred both commercially and privately keeping its numbers at a constant level, and its only real threat comes from breeders who cross breed it with other geese to improve or change their look or weight etc, which could eventually make it difficult to find pure bred African geese. However, being a domesticated breed of goose it does not face any threats in the wild and is not covered by the IUCN conservation register.
It was first recognised as its own breed in 1874.