Wild geese are cautious and reasonable birds, prefer to live in packs. Despite the fact that many species have already been tamed by humans, in the world there are many more individuals that survive in the wild and successfully cope with the harsh cold climate. Their lifestyle is unique and attracts the attention of ecologists, biologists and ordinary people around the world.
History of Domestication of Wild Geese
It is believed that it was the wild goose that became the first poultry. Due to the fact that this waterfowl has an excellent appetite and is easy to fatten, it is quite simple to discourage it from having to travel long distances.
Tamed chicks of wild geese, after two generations, domesticate and get used to the person. Today, geese breeding is a profitable activity in many regions of Russia.
Wild Goose Description
Wild goose is a massive and fairly large bird, making long flights to a warmer climate for the winter. The ability to swim and dive to great depths allows them to hide from danger in the water.
Wild goose is much smaller than a swan. The bird has a relatively light body and a short neck. The goose beak, in comparison with the duck, is longer, narrower and set high.
Male and female have the same color. The most common shades of feathers:
- the black;
- brown tint.
Most individuals have a clear and high voice. Birds communicate among themselves loudly. The male can be distinguished by slightly muffled gaggling.
With a full stomach or while resting, the bird can barely audibly mumble under its breath. However, if the bird is alarmed or frightened, then its ligaments emit a long loud cry.
Regardless of the species, wild geese build nests on land or nearby with a pond. Some species prefer to nest on their own, while others do this in pairs or whole colonies.
Not many people know, but the wild goose is very devoted to its partner.
The gosling attaches itself to those with whom it lives (mother, brothers and sisters). When hatched chicks are incubated, the caterpillar becomes attached to the person.
Species of wild geese
The variety of species of wild geese can affect humans. Individuals of different species differ not only visually (by the shade of feathers, the size of the beak, etc.), but also by preferences in food and habitats. To date, 12 species of wild goose have been recorded, each of which has already been perfectly studied by man.
Individuals of this species have a massive neck, a large pinkish-colored beak and ashen gray feathers. Wingspan - 170 cm.
There are no characteristic differences between females and males. The only thing that can indicate gender is size. The male is slightly larger than the female.
They feed mainly on tree buds, berries, leaves and acorns. The weight of a gray goose can reach up to 5 kg. The carcass does not exceed 90 cm in length.
For individuals of this species is characterized by a gray color of feathers with a black beak. The weight of the bird varies from 2 to 5 kg. The length of the carcass barely reaches 80 cm.
For the winter period, the goblin goes to Western European countries. The basis of the diet is cereal and vegetable crops. Preferred habitat:
- closed reservoirs.
White or polar goose
The place of stay of this species is cold Canadian and Siberian lands. However, in winter, the white goose makes a long flight to the Gulf of Mexico.
Due to its spectacular appearance, a white feather with a black edging, the polar geese were subject to brutal extermination by humans. They are the most socially developed group among other species and prefer to live in thousandth packs.
The basis of nutrition are cereals, lichens and leafy shoots.
A distinctive feature of the dryland is its large size. The carcass reaches a length of 120 cm. The wingspan is 180 cm. The mass of an adult reaches 6 kg.
They live on land. When threatened by humans or animals, dry-dogs are camouflaged in tall grass. Able to dive to great depths. They feed mainly on sedge, foliage and wild berries.
Individuals of this species are widespread in the mountains in the southern zone of Asia. In winter, fly away closer to the lands of India and Pakistan.
The mountain wild goose is characterized by the presence of dark stripes symmetrically located on the crown of the head. In length, individuals barely reach 90 cm. Wingspan can reach 170 cm. Weight does not exceed 3 kg.
In the diet of mountain geese, in addition to plant food, there is also an animal (worms with larvae, small insects).
This species of geese is the only one capable of climbing to a height of more than 11,000 meters.
For Russians, chicken goose may seem like an exotic bird, since these individuals are mainly found in Australia. The main difference from other species is the presence of a miniature beak, a small head size and red paws.
The weight of the bird does not exceed 7 kg, respectively, the carcass varies from 80 to 110 cm. Due to the fact that the chicken goose is not suitable for swimming, spends most of its time on land. The basis of the diet consists of worm larvae, mollusks, roots and cereals.
Nile or Egyptian Goose
The name of the bird was due to its origin. About 300 years ago they were first imported to European lands.
The coloring of the Nile goose is interesting - the presence of white, gray and brown shades. The specimens are tiny, barely reaching a mass of 3 kg.
The wingspan is small, up to one and a half meters. Egyptian geese feed on grass, plant seeds and small insects.
Due to the structure of its body, the Andean goose prefers to stay on land, entering the water only in case of danger. The female is inferior in size to the male.
The weight of the bird does not exceed 3 kg. The length of the carcass is 80 cm. Individuals of this species prefer to spend time in open areas, in the mountains, in meadows near pastures. The basis of the diet is grass, small insects and cereals.
You can meet this species in the southern lands of America, Chile and Argentina. The preferred habitat for the Magellan geese are the plains and mountain slopes, as well as meadows with tall grass.
Color varies by gender. For example, the female has a brown hue of feathers, while the male is painted in pure white. Life expectancy under favorable conditions reaches 25 years.
They can cause serious problems for farmers, as they are able to absorb most of the planted cereal crops.
Like the polar geese, the whale feels great in the cold climate of Canada and in some lands of Alaska. Individuals barely reach a mass of 3 kg and a length of 80 cm.
The basis of the diet is plant foods. This species of geese lives relatively shortly - 6 years.
Visually, the goose resembles a wild goose, but it has a smaller size. The gaggling characteristic of a goose is given to them unimportantly. The sounds made by geese are more like dogs howling.
To date, geese have a huge number of subspecies. The following are the most common.
Perhaps the most popular type of geese. You can meet these individuals in some regions of Canada and Alaska. The feathers of the Canadian goose have a deep brown color, and only the neck is charcoal-black.
Despite the fact that the bird prefers a harsh cold climate, it can still be found in small quantities in England and some Scandinavian countries.
One of the most visually appealing species. The body of the red-throated goose is painted in a beautiful chocolate shade. The back and wings are covered with black and white feathers, creating incredible patterns.
Individuals of this species were successfully domesticated. Due to its miniature size, it is rarely used in the household. Poultry is usually bred in a zoo.
Black Goose is a rare representative of the wild goose. The preferred habitat is the tundra. It is quite difficult to meet black geese in the wild, but it is possible in the northern regions of countries such as Canada and America.
The basis of the diet is plants and grass.
Visually, the white-cheeked goose resembles a Canadian one, but differs in gray with black color. Mostly nests in mountainous or open areas. You can meet her in many European countries.
Already from the name you can determine the habitat of this species - Hawaii. It is a rare species that over the past years, ecologists and biologists are trying to save from extinction.
The basis of the diet is plants, cereals and small insects.
The range and habitat of the goose
Most species of wild geese prefer open areas with tall grass and access to a reservoir or river. This choice is due to the plant diet of the bird. And thick grass allows geese to hide from possible danger. Some populations nest in the mountains and on the rocks.
As mentioned earlier, wild geese feed mainly on plant foods, that is, berries, grass, certain types of plants, cereals and vegetables. However, many species do not disdain and food of animal origin. The ability to swim allows wild geese to hunt small fish and insects.
Depending on the species, nesting can occur:
- in open areas (in the tundra, in meadows and fields);
- in closed areas (on rocks, in the mountains);
- near a reservoir or river.
Geese prefer to nest in colonies, but when building a nest, the couple tries to occupy a site that carefully protects from neighboring pairs.
Wild geese migrate twice during the course of one year, beginning in the middle of autumn. Birds cover great distances. By the end of spring, geese return to their former habitat.
In some European countries, there are individuals that are adapted to the cold climate and can afford to lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Dangers and Enemies
In a dangerous or threatening situation, the goose stretches out in the neck and begins to gaze around the environment, issuing a long and loud gaggling.
The main enemies of wild geese are representatives of the marten family, that is, ferret, fox and marten. Sometimes goslings can become victims of other birds, for example, a raven. The open habitats of geese make hunting easier for predators.
Features of keeping and breeding wild birds in captivity
Since the goose - the bird is rather unpretentious, given its diet and fitness for cold climates. Keeping and breeding this bird is a profitable business.
The only thing worth focusing on is the large area of the aviary, as well as access to an open area where geese can graze. This is due to the wildlife of the goose - this bird loves space.
Breeding and offspring of wild goose
Features of poultry breeding at home:
- In order for geese to successfully breed in captivity, care must be taken to increase daylight hours. This can be achieved by installing artificial light in the house for the winter.
- Daylight hours in the winter for a wild goose should be 13 hours. To preserve offspring, it is recommended to independently install nests, the size of which will be at least 60 cm, the height of the side not more than 15 cm.
- Geese puberty occurs in the third year of life. It was during this period that the birds tried to find a stall and begin building a nest for future hatching.
- To keep the nest warm, it is advisable to additionally lay the litter of fluff or feather bed. In one season, the female is able to produce from 50 to 70 eggs.
Status and fishing value
Being a wild bird, quite often the goose is hunted, not only for the purpose of keeping and breeding, but also to get tasty meat. A man has long been able to study the characteristic habits of this bird and hunting for a wild goose, as a rule, due to the established strategy and traps, ends successfully.
In most cases, birds are shot for meat. Despite the fact that the populations of most species are numerous, some of them are still subject to extinction.
Nutritional qualities of wild goose
Wild goose meat has a dark tint and a greasy texture. Due to the predominance of natural plant foods in the poultry diet, meat has a unique aroma with a sweet aftertaste.
For many years, culinary specialists have come up with a wide variety of goose dishes. It is perfect for cooking rich broths, baking and frying.
Goose meat is of great nutritional value due to the impressive content of high-quality protein. Also in the composition of goose you can find the necessary vitamins (A and C) and minerals for the proper development of the human body. Goose meat promotes the active production of bile and strengthens the walls of blood vessels.
There are many species of wild geese. All of them are unique, and our article helps to understand in more detail their habitat, nutrition and nesting. And useful recommendations will allow you to properly domesticate the bird.