How to Tell if an African Goose is Male or Female?

The African goose is among the best breeds to raise, especially for meat. Like most goose species, male and female African geese look almost identical. These birds also act the same, making it difficult to tell whether an African goose is male or female.

While it can be pretty confusing to say the exact gender of an African goose, some easy things can help you tell the differences between an African gander and an African goose hen.

Male vs Female African Goose

 The African goose is among the giant goose breeds worldwide. This hardy bird can make an excellent waterfowl for any geese raiser. Despite being common in many farms and homesteads, most people need help to tell the exact differences between male African geese and their female counterparts.

Whether you are a seasoned or inexperienced geese raiser, it’s crucial to know the gender of every bird in your flock, especially if you want to sex African geese. These are among the top differences between the male African goose and the female African goose.

– Body Size

The most apparent difference between an African male and a female male goose is the body size. Male African geese are more prominent than their female counterparts. Male African geese weigh around 20 pounds, although some African ganders can be much heavier. Female African geese are a few pounds lighter than their male counterparts, most of them weighing around 20 pounds.

Male African geese also have larger body parts than females. For instance, ganders have larger breasts than females. They also have larger bodies than hens. Moreover, male African geese are taller than hens, although adult female geese are stockier and shorter.

Although adult African female geese aren’t larger than their male counterparts, females have noticeable pot-bellied or paunch appearances. Even younger African geese are noticeably larger than younger females.

Male African geese have thicker and longer necks than females. Overall, their body size makes it easy to distinguish male African geese from females. The larger an African goose is, the more the bird is likely to be a male.

– Behavior

It’s pretty easy to tell the gender of an African goose when the bird is still young by observing its behavior. Although all geese are aggressive compared to ducks and chickens, male African geese are more aggressive than females. Males are the guardians of their mates and flocks, so they are pretty bold to help them execute their guardian role.

Females can be somewhat aggressive, unlike mother hens or ducks. However, female African geese will only become aggressive when protecting their goslings from potential predators or intruders. Females can also become aggressive when protecting their nests and eggs, although it’s unlikely for females to be aggressive.

Hissing is one of the signs of aggression in African male geese. Males will hiss at prospective enemies, while female African geese will back away from the enemy while honking. However, females can also hiss at their enemies when protecting their goslings.

Females will only be aggressive when protecting their eggs, nests, and goslings. Nonetheless, male African geese are always aggressive and ready to attack.

Apart from aggression, how an African goose stands can be another behavioral aspect to help you tell the difference between a male and a female African goose. Males, for instance, stand more upright than females. Males hold their heads upright with their beaks pointing upwards. Female African Geese have horizontal stances.

They either keep their heads level or point slightly downward. Females always try to avoid trouble by walking in quiet and safe places, while males always walk around looking for trouble.

– Vocalizations

Vocalizations can also help geese raisers distinguish between male and female geese. The vocalizations or calls an African goose makes can let you tell whether it is a hen or a gander. Adult male African geese, for instance, make high, long double-syllable honks.

The vocalizations from the males sound similar to tug boats. On the other hand, female African geese produce deeper vocalizations than males. Females will either make double-syllable honks or short single honks.

– Head Knob

Every African goose has a knob on the top of its beak, commonly known as the basal knob. While the basal knob is typical in all African geese varieties, males have more prominent knobs than females.

Males’ head knobs stand upright even when holding their heads high or tilting them upwards. Females’ head knobs can be level or at a downward tilt. Adult male African geese have completely white knobs, while females have gray head knobs. Thus, the appearance and size of the head knob can be a clear difference between an African male and a female goose.

– Dewlap

African geese have a dewlap, or the skin fold hanging under their heads. Although female African geese have dewlaps, their dewlaps are much smaller than males’ dewlaps, a physical feature differentiating between male and female African geese.

However, older females have bigger dewlaps than younger hens. Overall, the older the African goose is, the more prominent the dewlap the bird has. Nonetheless, adult male African geese have more prominent dewlaps than younger males.

At What Age Can You Sex African Goslings?

Most people who raise African geese contemplate sexing their birds at some point, although they aren’t sure what age they should sex their goslings. You can sex your goslings when they are between one and two weeks old. However, the goslings might be too small and delicate at that age. Thus, consider sexing your goslings when they are around three to four weeks old.

That is an ideal age to examine your goslings and tell whether they are males or females. At that age, your goslings’ head knobs will be more noticeable, and it will be easy to tell the gender of your goslings by looking at their head knobs. You can sex your African goslings at any age provided you can tell their gender.


The African goose is among the most amiable goose species worldwide. The bird is hardy, matures relatively fast, and is ready for meat production in a couple of months. African geese, especially ganders, are excellent guardians and will fiercely defend their mates and goslings.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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