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Johannesburg Zoo

Geese are among the fastest growing avian species commonly raised for meat. They are grazers and can be raised almost exclusively on pasture and are excellent foragers. They are available worldwide. In most climates, they require little or no housing, they adapt well to hot climates, as long as some shade is available. Their waterproof feathers help them adapt well to high rainfall regions. They also tolerate extreme cold.

They are one of the most intelligent birds; they have a good memory and do not quickly forget people, animals or situations that have frightened them. There are common behavioural patterns such as pecking order, which allow individuals to live peacefully together. Geese normally live harmoniously both with themselves and with other creatures. The bond between male and female is strong. Changing mates is difficult, although most geese will accept a new partner after a period of �mourning�. Geese nest on the ground and prefer their water�s edge. The gander usually stands guard while the goose incubates the eggs. He then assists in rearing the goslings. Most geese become irritated if intruders approach their nest or goslings and will even attack people and large dogs.

Geese provide meat, eggs, fat and down. The meat is lean, flavourful and of outstanding quality. The eggs are large and taste much like chicken eggs. The down is the finest natural insulating material for clothing and bedding; geese can control many types of aquatic weeds in shallow water as well as grass and some palatable grass. They can also be used as a �lawn mowers� and �weeders� among cotton, fruit trees and other crops. Their elongated necks also help them keep a watchful eye on the surroundings. Their exceptional eyesight allows them to see great distances and the position of the eyes gives them a wide field of vision. They are amongst the most alert of all animals, and strangers cannot calm them into silence. In many countries especially the east, they replace guard dogs.

Mature geese are independent, when kept in small flocks and allowed to roam. They require less attention than any domestic bird except for a guinea fowl. They seem to be the most resistant of all poultry to disease, parasites, and cold and wet weather. They also do well in hot climates as long as drinking water and deep shade are available.

These birds are messy and their loud trumpeting is often irritating, however they are not aggressive unless they are teased or mistreated, or if they are nesting or brooding young. A harassed or angry adult can express its displeasure effectively with powerful bill and pounding wings. Excessive concentrations of geese on ponds or along creeks encourage unsanitary conditions, muddy water and hasten bank erosion.
The Zoo has 1 species of goose: Chinese Goose.

Chinese Goose
It probably originated from the wild Chinese goose. They can be either white or brown and can be recognized by a knob at the base of the bill. They yield very good meat but are not the hardiest of breeds. They are prolific breeders and lay more eggs than any other breed. Some are excellent egg-layers, yielding over 80 eggs per year but usually 30 -40. They are also big, with a gander weighing between 4.5 to 5.4 kg and a goose between 3.6 and 4.5kg.

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