There are various poultry auctions in South Wales (UK) where I live and whilst there are always loads of chickens of all breeds, Geese are very rarely sold this way, but Goose Eggs can sometimes be found.
As ever, eggs sold as fertile may or may not hatch, for all sorts of reasons, and the breed may not be the ones you thought you’d bought!
Domestic Geese are kept for two reasons. As ‘guard dogs’ – geese are the best ‘policemen’ you can get on a farm, they make a lot of noise when visitors arrive, and can even scare off foxes – altho’ sometimes they fall prey to them instead! Or to grow on for that special occasion, like Christmas Dinner! If you remember your Dickens, Scrooge doesn’t buy a Turkey when he gets his compassion back, its a Goose, as that was the bird of choice in Victorian times.
This is a little playground ditty that probably goes back over a hundred years:
Christmas is coming. The goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, then a ha’ penny will do. If you haven’t got a ha’ penny, then God bless you!
Embden Geese are the most commonly kept of the breeds available. This photo is from FeatherSite.com, which is a great source for looking up breeds of all poultry. Geese need a fair bit of land to roam around on, and eat mostly grass, plus grain, the same as chickens and ducks, and they do need water in the form of a pond or a stream to clean their feathers and just because water is where they usually live!
I was at the Brecon Beacons National Park on the day of the eclipse and it was a real thrill to see a pair of wild geese fly in “out of nowhere” to use their pond!
These two images come from http://www.goosehuntinginfo.com, as do the following snippets : The birds are considered to be one of the most talkative animals after us, the humans. The baby geese begins “talking” to its parents while still in the egg.
During mating, the birds stay monogamous for their entire life by producing families together each year. They are known to have a strong instinct to return to their “homes” and can even travel up to 3,000 miles for this reason. Wild Geese migrate south and they are capable of travelling up to 1,000 km in a single day.
They are hunted in Canada, but I think its illegal in the UK – some of our wild visitors are Canadian Geese – smile!