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What Is the African Goose?

By Britt Archer
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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The African goose is a large, strapping bird whose name is misleading. It is believed the African goose’s true ancestor is the Swan goose, and it really comes from China. These geese possess pretty plumage that varies from brown and buff to gray and white. They are a very vocal breed, like Chinese geese, and they can be identified by the large knob on their head and a dewlap under the chin.

The African goose gains his prominent knob as he matures, and in colder regions the goose can suffer frostbite on his knob. The frostbitten parts can change from their normal black shade to orange, but these parts will revert to their normal color when the injury has healed. These geese are docile and good egg layers, and their tendency to honk at intruders makes them a good version of nature’s alarm system. They will get vocal when an intruder is in the vicinity, and they may also enjoy communicating with nearby geese belonging to another flock.

Sometimes the African goose is raised as a show bird, but often they are grown as a source of food. The male African goose can weigh as much as 20 pounds (9.07 kilograms), and the female as much as 18 pounds (8.16 kilograms). These geese were acknowledged as an official breed in 1874, and some experts believe the breed is a cross between a Swan goose and a Toulouse goose.

Like many domestic geese, the African goose enjoys eating grass. This fowl’s nutritional needs, however, also require a balanced diet that needs the addition of special feed. Like their human counterparts, the babies need special baby food when kept in captivity, and older geese progress to more adult food. These geese also require a supply of grit to aid digestion, and access to drinking water. Proper care, a good diet and protection from predators will give geese the opportunity to peacefully grow old, with some hitting the 20-year mark and some just a few years less.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an African Goose?

An African Goose is a breed of domestic goose, not actually from Africa, but developed in China. It's known for its distinctive knob on the head and a loud, resonant call. These geese are large, with ganders weighing up to 22 pounds, and are often kept for their meat, eggs, and ornamental value.

How can you distinguish an African Goose from other geese?

African Geese are notable for their large dewlap, a fleshy lobe hanging below the beak, and the prominent knob at the top of their heads. They have a dark brown or buff stripe that runs from the back of the neck to the top of the head, setting them apart from other breeds.

What is the temperament of African Geese?

African Geese are known for being more docile than other goose breeds, making them suitable for farms and as pets. However, they can be protective of their territory and flock, especially during breeding season, which can lead to some aggressive behavior.

What kind of habitat do African Geese prefer?

African Geese thrive in environments where they have access to water for swimming and grassy areas for grazing. They are adaptable and can live in a variety of climates, but they do best in moderate conditions where they can forage for food and have space to roam.

How long do African Geese live?

African Geese have a lifespan that can range from 10 to 15 years, depending on their living conditions and care. With proper nutrition, protection from predators, and veterinary care, these geese can live a full and healthy life.

What are the breeding habits of African Geese?

African Geese typically start breeding in their second year. They are seasonal layers, with the female laying up to 40 eggs per year, usually in the spring. The incubation period for their eggs is about 30 days, and they are known to be attentive parents to their goslings.

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