Goose: What You Should Know

Geese are big birds. The most common species worldwide is the Canada goose. The second most common species is the greylag goose. From this people have bred the domestic goose. Swans and ducks are also related to geese. The male is called a gander, the female is called a goose and the young is called a gosling.

Geese have long necks and in nature mostly live on land, but they also like to swim in the water. In nature, geese are often grey, brown, or black. Plucking its feathers reveals its skin full of small bumps. That’s called goosebumps. This expression is also needed when a person develops such skin and their hair stands up.

The domestic goose was bred by humans. It is therefore more suitable for keeping on a farm or in a special geese operation. Their feathers are white. People like geese for the meat, but also for the feathers. Foie gras is popular: geese are stuffed with food so much that they get a huge, fatty liver. But this is torture and therefore forbidden in many countries.

How does the greylag goose live?

Greylag geese live in many areas of Europe and northern Asia during the summer. They feed mainly on grasses and herbs. But they also like different cereal grains: corn, wheat, and others. Sometimes they also look for their food underwater, i.e. algae and other aquatic plants.

A female greylag goose and a male stay together for life. They build their nests near the water. Many nests are on islands. The padding consists only of a thin layer of feathers. Gray geese mate in March or April when the female usually lays four to six eggs. Only the female incubates for about four weeks. The young can leave the nest immediately and are cared for by their parents for about two months.

In autumn, the greylag geese migrate south from northern Europe and northern Asia. They winter in the western Mediterranean: in Spain, Tunisia, and Algeria. When migrating, they don’t just swim in a flock but form a formation that looks like the letter V. The greylag geese from Germany and all of Central Europe do not migrate south. It’s warm enough for them here.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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