Geese are a popular type of waterfowl found in many homesteads. They are kept for various reasons, including meat, appearance, and companionship. Although they do lay eggs, which are big and delicious, most breeds only lay a few dozen per year in the spring, making them impractical to keep merely for egg production.
There are many geese varieties, with some being more common than others. All were selectively bred from the wild Greylag goose, except for the Chinese and African geese descending from the wild Swan goose. The American Poultry Association recognizes three weight classes of geese, and there are wonderful birds to add to your homestead in each classification.
1. African Goose
African geese are a distinct breed descended from the Chinese goose and the Swan goose. As one of the largest geese breeds weighing up to 20 pounds, they are renowned for their delicious and rich meat. However, this goose breed does not lay many eggs per year. These birds are hardy and docile, with beautiful plumage that can be gray, brown, or white. African geese are excellent weeders and love to forage around the garden.
2. Embden Goose
The Embden, otherwise known as the Emden Goose, is originally from Germany and Holland, but they have since become popular worldwide for their large size and fast growth. Additionally, this goose breed is popular for its hardiness in all sorts of weather. Embden geese have an oval-shaped head, with a graceful and long neck curving into a round and bulky body. Their plumage is a beautiful, stark white, complemented by an orange bill and feet. Embden females average 20 to 24 pounds, while the gander can weigh between 24 and 31 pounds.
3. Sebastopol Goose
Sebastopol geese are a historic breed originating from Central Europe along the Danube and the Black Sea and descended from the European Greylag goose. This goose breed is distinguished by its beautiful, curly white feathers, smooth neck, and large, round head. These geese are incapable of flying and are prized as ornamental birds. They have a sweet and pleasant disposition. Sebastopol geese are also excellent to raise for meat, weighing up to 15 pounds but don’t produce many eggs.
4. Tufted Roman Goose
Tufted Roman geese are a beautiful ornamental breed with a long history. Initially bred in the Danube River Valley in Germany over 2,000 years ago, these birds have since become popular worldwide for their snow-white plumage and distinctive head tuft. Their beautiful appearance is complemented by their strong frame and light pink bill. Tufted Roman gander tends to weigh 10 to 12 pounds, while geese weigh 9 to 10 pounds. These geese have a calm temperament but are quite alert.
5. Chinese Goose
Chinese geese are a beautiful breed descended from Wild Swan geese. Brown Chinese geese have black bills and grayish-brown plumage while White Chinese sport white feathers and bright orange bills and feet. This is a great dual-purpose breed with an ideal temperament for guarding your homestead. Chinese ganders weigh between 10 and 12 pounds on average, while the females weigh 8 to 10 pounds. Chinese geese are one of the best egg layers, averaging 40 to 100 eggs annually.
6. American Buff Goose
American Buff geese originated in the United States. The origin of this popular breed is unclear, but it was admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1946. This breed is named for its distinctive apricot and fawn-colored plumage and is known for having a docile and broody temperament. These geese are popularly kept as a meat breed, with a plumage color that makes it easy to pluck and clean.
7. Pilgrim Goose
Pilgrim geese are a gray and white variety of geese with orange bills. Pilgrim geese are one of the few sexually dimorphic breeds available, with the females having grey plumage while the males are white. This breed was developed in Missouri during the 1930s by the renowned waterfowl breeder Oscar Grow. Pilgrim geese are large and quick growers, with the geese weighing 12 to 16 pounds and the gander weighing 14 to 18 pounds. Pilgrim geese are known to be very calm and friendly.
8. Toulouse Goose
Toulouse geese, named for their region of origin in Toulouse, France, are an old breed of geese commonly used for producing meat. This breed is popularly hybrid bred with Embden geese to produce a magnificent meat bird. These geese have large bodies and strong wings and can come in gray, buff, and white colors. Toulouse geese weigh 20 to 24 pounds, while the gander weighs 26 to 29. Toulouse geese are a great fit if you want friendly and quiet birds since they have a relaxed demeanor and pleasant attitude.
French Toulouse Goose
French Toulouse geese are the classic variety, with the breed name recorded as far back as 1555. These birds have gray and white feathers with orange bills and feet and are known for their excellent meat production.
Buff Toulouse Goose
Buff Toulouse geese are a gorgeous type of Toulouse geese distinguished by their buff-colored plumage. They have white abdomens, hazel eyes, and a light orange bill and feet.
Tufted Toulouse Goose
Tufted Toulouse geese, much like Roman Tufted geese, have a tuft of feathers on their head. Their feathers are the beautiful gray and white variety typical of Toulouse geese, with orange bills and feet.
Large Dewlap Toulouse Goose
Large Dewlap Toulouse geese are distinguished by the large pouch of skin hanging from below their beak. These birds descended from the common Toulouse geese and were initially bred in the 1850s in England for exhibition purposes.
9. American Saddleback Pomeranian Goose
American Saddleback Pomeranian geese are descended from the German Pomeranian goose. These birds were traditionally bred for meat production, with the breed offering an especially large breast and tender meat. However, they can be kept as a dual-purpose breed and produce up to 70 large eggs per year. Saddleback Pomeranian geese are very friendly and make excellent watchdogs due to their noisiness.
10. Cotton Patch Goose
Cotton Patch geese are a rare and historic heritage breed that was once commonplace on farms all across the southeastern U.S. These birds were originally kept to keep fields of corn and cotton weed-free but were also prized utility birds for their eggs and meat. They are small and sexually dimorphic, and due to their sleek stature, they are hot weather resistant and maintain the ability to fly well enough to clear a 5-foot fence and evade predators.