At What Age do African Geese Start Laying Eggs?
The name African Goose is rather misleading, especially to new farmers. Unlike the name suggests, these geese don’t originate from Africa. These geese originate from the Swan Goose and the Chinese Goose. It is one of the largest domesticated breeds of geese and provides excellent meat and eggs.
They are docile and peaceful most of the time with bursts of aggression from time to time and are majorly bred in the US, the UK, and France. This article takes a look into the African Goose and sheds light on its egg-laying habits and characteristics.
Hopefully, both new and veteran farmers can get some useful insights from this piece.
What Time of Year do African Geese Lay Eggs?
This is a common question among new geese farmers. Geese require about 10 hours of sunlight to stimulate the egg-laying process. Naturally, they tend to lay their eggs towards the end of spring.
Their window is generally short for wild and free-range geese but it can be extended with the introduction of artificial sunlight for farmed geese. The egg-laying season can be naturally expected from April to around July. The African goose starts laying eggs at around 9-10 months of age.
There are signs that you can look for to see if your goose is getting ready to lay eggs. The most common and noticeable is increased mating among the geese. The goose will also start scouting private places for the nest where it can lay its eggs if a nest is not already provided for them.
They will also start gathering grass and twigs and dropping them in the general direction of where they intend to lay their eggs. Once you notice this, then it is the egg-laying season for your African Goose.
How Many Eggs Do African Geese Lay in a Year?
On average, the African goose can lay about 20-40 eggs each spring and this is dependent on its age, health, and available nutrition. A typical spring will usually have 22 eggs on the lower side and up to 38 eggs on the higher side if the goose is in its prime and healthy.
While there are other breeds of geese that can master up to 50 or 60 eggs each season, the African Goose is on the lower end of this as it is primarily not kept for its eggs. African Geese lay white eggs that are about 3 to 4 inches in length with a weight of about 144 grams.
In comparison, domesticated Chinese Geese can lay upwards of 50 eggs in a single year. You can strive for this with your African Goose but it will require the introduction of artificial lighting to stimulate the egg laying cycle and an increase in the protein and calcium in their diet.
This will however decrease the amount of meat that the geese can produce as their body mass tends to drop as they brood and sit on their eggs. It should be noted that once you set aside the African Goose for egg laying specifically, its value as a source of meat gets affected.
This is because the meat will become tougher faster as the strain on the body of the goose goes up with the constant egg production. This is thus something that only people breeding African Geese for eggs alone should consider.
How Many Eggs Does an African Goose Lay Before Sitting?
A goose has to achieve a clutch before it can sit on the eggs. For the African Goose, the clutch is usually around 5 eggs on average. This is not a set figure as it varies from one African Goose to the next. The range is usually from 3 to 12 eggs. The African Goose will sit on the eggs during the incubation period that lasts anywhere from 26 to 35 days.
After this, it will abandon the unhatched eggs and go off with the available goslings. As the African Geese are larger, they tend to have a longer incubation period compared to other smaller species. You can artificially incubate a larger amount of eggs if you intend to produce goslings for sale.
The egg-to-body ratio is why geese have fewer eggs compared to other poultry as their eggs tend to be rather large.
How Many Years Do African Geese Lay Eggs?
Once an African Goose reaches maturity, it will start to lay eggs. The first few eggs are usually smaller as the body is still adjusting to the process. The egg production and size will then go up in the next seasons. A goose is in its prime in the first 5 to 7 breeding seasons.
They can keep laying eggs for about 10 to 15 years but the egg production starts to go down gradually after the first 7 years. The viability of the fertilized eggs is also affected and their meat starts to get tougher. After 10 years, the egg production drops drastically and it is not strange to have an African Goose that can only master 2-3 eggs per breeding season.
Geese are generally tenacious creatures and can live for upwards of 20 years. As they age, their bodies become weaker and the females become less capable of laying or hatching eggs while the viability of the sperm in the male also drops, and their ability to mate goes down as they get weaker.
Geese, however, mate for life and though they produce less eggs, the shared parenting ensures that more of their young survive to adulthood to continue the bloodline.
Do African Geese Lay Unfertilized Eggs?
Just like chickens and other poultry, African Geese are capable of laying eggs without the help of a gander. This should however not be mistaken to mean that the egg production goes up or down. The average amount of eggs produced by the specific goose remains roughly the same.
The eggs produced are however only good for consumption as they cannot be hatched or incubated to produce goslings. Putting female geese in isolation with some artificial light will help stimulate this egg laying and they can then be used to produce eggs for sale.
Do African Geese Lay Eggs Every Day?
On average, an African Goose will produce an egg every 3 or 4 days. Some can lay an egg every two days but such geese are rare and are usually either of a mixed breed or have been bred specifically for their egg production. Since the eggs are large, it takes longer for them to develop after fertilization or even without the long period between the laying of eggs.
For many new farmers, this contrast to chickens that lay eggs daily is usually quite astonishing. This is simply because of selective breeding. Geese being larger, have been domesticated and bred selectively for their meat while hens have been selectively bred for years for their eggs. This is why hens are the most avid egg layers of all the domesticated poultry.
In the sense of egg production, the African Goose is not the best breed of domesticated goose to go for. They have a large meaty caucus and mature at about 15 weeks after which they are ready for consumption. Their annual egg yield is low but of high quality. For small-scale farming, they would best serve as a source of meat.
They can be a good source of eggs when it comes to large-scale farming. Geese, unlike ducks or chickens, are more profitable when the focus on their eggs is on the quality rather than the quantity. The African Goose comes in gray, brown, and white shades and is excellent to have on the farm.
Hopefully, this article has offered you enough insights into this breed of geese and you will have a better understanding of their egg-laying characteristics and issues.