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Domestic Geese

Domestic GeeseFarmers raise many geese in their barnyards. These tame geese rank among the most intelligent of the many kinds of domesticated birds. For this reason, children who live on farms sometimes enjoy keeping geese as pets.

Domestic geese are the descendants of the graylag goose of Europe. They grow much larger than their wild ancestors, but have almost lost the ability to fly. They can take only short hops in the air. Domestic breeds include the Toulouse, colored gray, and the Embden, which is white with an orange bill. The brown Chinese goose has a black bill and a yellow stripe on its neck. Another goose of light gray color is called the African goose, because of its black head.

Domestic geese mate for life. Before the female lays eggs, the pair make a nest that the female lines with down from her breast. The male shows great interest in the young while they are being hatched and raised.

The raising of geese has greater importance in Europe than in the United States. In Europe, especially in Germany, farmers keep large flocks of geese that provide a valuable source of income. Goose feathers furnish down to stuff pillows and quilts. Goose eggs and flesh are eaten. A delicately flavored paste-like food called “pate de foie gras” is made from the livers of fattened geese. Some European farmers use electric machines to feed their geese. The machine forces a stream of corn into the bill of each goose two or three times a day for about a month. This not only fattens the goose, but also enlarges its liver quickly.

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The Domestic Geese that are raised for eggs and meat is a growing market. Sportsmen that are hunting goose do not normally know how important this game bird is to other parts of the world.