How Many Eggs Do Domestic Geese Lay a Year?
In the poultry world, breeding chicken for eggs and meat is commonplace. This is because they are viewed as low maintenance and offer a great return all year round. In recent decades, geese have made their way into the poultry world and are fast gaining traction as alternate sources of highly nutritious meat and eggs.
The modern domestic goose species were derived from the domestication of two distinct wild species. The Western breeds of domestic geese were developed from the Greyland while the Asiatic breeds were developed from the Swan goose.
From these two species, a myriad of geese species have been generated throughout the years and have been kept for a variety of uses including their meat, eggs, feathers, and in some households as pets. The domestication of geese helped to enhance a number of their traits like egg sitting, foraging capabilities, quiet nature, and friendly demeanor.
When do Geese Start Laying Eggs?
Geese are secretive, especially when it comes to matters of mating and egg-laying. This has left many people perplexed about their egg-laying specifics. One of the most common questions that people usually ask is, when do geese start laying their eggs?
Just like all animal species, female geese start laying their eggs upon reaching maturity. The age of maturity varies from one goose species to another.
In some species, maturity is achieved early and egg-laying commences from around 9 months of age. On the other end of that is geese that don’t start laying eggs till around 4 years old. The average age for most species is usually 2 years of age.
Despite this staggering difference in the maturity age of the various goose species, all geese have about 4 to 5 seasons of peak fertility in their lifetime. It is at this age that they can lay hatchable eggs. After this period, most species can still lay eggs, but they will be unfertilized eggs that cannot be hatched, only consumed.
How Often Can Geese Lay Eggs?
With the knowledge of when geese start laying their eggs, it is reasonable to wonder just how often this egg-laying takes palace. Geese are different from other poultry in the sense that they only lay eggs every other day.
This means that during their egg-laying season, they are only capable of laying a single egg every 48 to 72 hours. They thus don’t lay eggs daily despite age or fertility. Egg-laying also takes place at specific times, and for most geese, this is usually in the morning. For fertile geese, this is repeated for about 2 to 3 months.
Do Domestic Geese Lay Eggs All Year Round?
An important fact to keep in mind is that geese, though domesticated, still originated from migratory wild birds. It is for this reason that they do not lay eggs as often as chickens or ducks. Geese are seasonal breeders and tend to lay eggs in late winter and in early summer.
Egg-laying seasons tend to start around February. In a year, geese tend to lay around 2 to 10 eggs depending on the size of the clutch. A clutch is the number of eggs laid in a single brood by a nesting bird. Domestic geese, unlike their other counterparts the chickens, are incapable of laying eggs all year round.
Factors that Influence the Number of Eggs Geese Lay
The number of eggs varies greatly from one goose to another and from poultry farm to poultry farm. This is attributed to a number of factors that either positively or negatively impact the egg-laying quantities. These factors are discussed below.
For geese to lay a good amount of eggs in each season, they need access to nutritious food, fresh water, and ample living space where they can stretch and lay as needed. Without these conditions at their optimum, geese produce fewer eggs.
For fertilized eggs to be laid, geese require the presence of a gander and a local pond. The ratio of goose to gander is supposed to be around one to four for optimum mating and egg production.
Different species of geese produce different amounts of eggs. The variation in most species is minimal and usually around 5 to 10. There are however species of geese like the Embden Geese whose domestication has enhanced their egg-laying characteristics. Such geese have been known to produce 20 to 30 eggs each year making them highly favored among commercial poultry farmers.
The age of geese is a contributing factor to the number of eggs that a goose can lay. Since each goose has about 5 productive breeding seasons, the number of eggs tends to go down after this. Older geese that are past their prime lay fewer eggs.
Though the quality or size may not be different, the fertility of the egg is usually lower and thus cannot be used to produce goslings. Generally, older geese will lay about 2 to 5 eggs per season while the younger ones produce 5 to 10 eggs.
Safety and privacy are great determinants when it comes to the number of eggs that a goose produces. This is why it is always essential to provide them with an excellent habitat where they can brood and lay eggs comfortably.
As long as geese feel safe and secure, their egg production is guaranteed to be at an optimum, all other factors considered. There are some species where seclusion of the egg-laying goose is important to ensure that it continues to produce eggs during its fertile seasons.
Are Goose Eggs Good to Eat?
All this talk about goose egg-laying habits leaves one question unanswered. Are these eggs any good to consume? The simple answer is yes. Goose eggs are an excellent source of protein and can be consumed in the very same way that we consume chicken eggs.
They can also be cooked in the same ways as well. You can have your pick from boiled to scrambled to runny to sunny side up. In recent recipes, chefs have begun using these eggs in pasta as they add to the flavor.
The only difference when it comes to cooking goose eggs is that their shells are harder to crack and boiling them takes about 12 to 15 minutes.
Geese are more than just an alternative food source and can also be kept as pets. Their intelligence, elegance, and beauty are things of marvel. Goslings are known to imprint on humans and regard them as their parents as long as they are shown kindness and fed.
Geese also eat grass and weeds and are a good biological way to control weeds on the lawn. They are known to live for around 20 to 25 years and can be excellent in-house pets for quite some time.