White Chinese Geese
White Chinese Geese are pure white with a distinctive knob on the top of their beaks. They are the best layers of all the geese, and weigh several pounds smaller than the Toulouse geese — averaging 10-15 pounds. These geese are very hardy, beautiful, make good ‘watch dogs’, and their eggs hatch well.
The Chinese goose originated in China from the wild Asiatic Swan Goose. The earliest record of Chinese geese in America dates back to George Washington, who received a pair of Chinese Geese from Governor Morris in 1788.
Chinese geese are available in two colors: brown and white. White geese have blue eyes; the distinctive knobs on their foreheads are orange, as are their feet and bills. At maturity, ganders weigh about 12 pounds, geese about 10 pounds.
Chinese geese are among the most prolific breeds, with each goose laying between 40 and 100 eggs a year. That’s twice the average production of some other goose breeds, and they start laying earlier. For best results, provide each gander with several geese, to a maximum of six, rather than a 1-to-1 ratio. Keeping fewer ganders and more geese reduces competition in the flock.
If you’re raising goslings in a brooder, start the temperature at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing it between 5 and 10 degrees weekly until you reach the maintenance temperature of 70 degrees. Make sure the birds have water available at all times. Since commercial gosling feed is hard to come by, feed them chick starter. Because of their natural hardiness, you can feed Chinese goslings the nonmedicated variety of chick starter. Supplement them with lawn clippings — as long as they don’t contain pesticides or herbicides — or let them out for brief periods on pasture in good weather. By the time the goslings reach the age of 6 weeks, you can place them on out on pasture permanently.
Domesticated Swan Goose Anser cygnoid
Although there are now many colour variations, Chinese Geese are standardised for exhibition in two colour forms: the white and the brown (also called ‘grey’ or ‘fawn’). The brown is the same colour as the brown African. The larger African or ‘Lion Head’ was reared as a table bird; the lighter weight Chinese produces more eggs.
Chinese are light-weight, graceful birds. They have a long, slightly curved neck and a rounded, prominent knob on the head which is much larger in the gander. The function of this is not known. This feature is seen in Mute Swans, but seems to have developed in the Chinese Goose after domestication from the wild Swan Goose.
Chinese geese appear graceful, with long slender necks and compact bodies. A bright orange knob at the base of the beak gets larger as they age, and is often more prominent in the male of the species. The Chinese goose comes in a pure white variety as well as a brown-gray barred color scheme similar to that of the African goose, but is significantly smaller. Chinese geese are extremely vocal and make excellent watchdogs.
Goslings require supplemental heat during the first weeks of life until they are fully feathered. If they are not being raised by their mother, keep them in an incubator at 95 degrees Fahrenheit the first week and reduce the temperature by 5 degrees per week until they are fully feathered out at about 6 weeks old. If you keep adult geese in a pen, make sure to keep no more than one goose per 4 square feet of floor space.
Chinese goslings can begin life on chick or game bird starter supplemented with grass and other vegetation. Adult birds consume cracked corn and will spend much of their time foraging for bugs and trimming grasses while leaving broad-leafed plants—such as your vegetables, herbs and flowering plants—untouched. If you want geese to nibble at broad-leafed weeds as well, introduce them into their diet beginning at 1 week old. Do not feed baby geese flower stalks or other matter you do not wish for them to consume as adults foraging in your yard.