The African Goose is a prized domestic goose. It is one of the heaviest breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection. The brown form was admitted to the association in 1874. The white form was admitted much later. This goose is not African but, like the Chinese goose, descended from the wild Swan Goose native of Asia.
The African’s appear in three colors; brown, buff and white. A distinguishing characteristic of all forms is the large, forward-projecting knob above the beak of a mature bird. The bill and knob are black in the brown form and orange in the white African. Though it is similar to the Chinese goose, it has a heavier body, thicker neck, larger dewlap (flap of skin that hangs beneath the lower jaw or neck) and different shape of the knob. A dark brown stripe runs from the knob back over the crown of the head and down the back of the neck. A mature bird has a narrow band of whitish feathers that separate the satin-black bill and knob from the brown around the eye and head. The legs and feet are bright orange to brownish orange. The tidy tail folds and points up. Te eyes are deep-set, intelligent and large.
Africans are the leanest of the heavy breed of geese. They produce excellent meat, and are considered a superior roasting goose. If raising them for meat, young ganders (males) grow quickly and will weigh 16-18 pounds in 15 to 18 weeks from hatching. Adult ganders can weigh between 20-22 pounds and geese (females) usually weigh about 18 pounds.
They are well adapted for Montana. African geese can survive significant cold weather but need shelter or cover to protect their knobs from frostbite. If the knob does get frostbitten, it often develops orange patches that often disappear by the next fall.
The African goose makes an excellent pet living commonly over 20 years. It is easy to keep and is valued for its dignified looks and docile temperament. They mingle well with domestic ducks in a large yard with a pond area.
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More bird articles by this author:
- Wild geese in Montana
- Swisher the goose – rescued and returned to the wild
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- Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge in western Montana
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