Management systems applied to breeding and producing geese are generally of two types: intensive (in premises) and extensive (on pasture; Fig. 1). Preference for either type depends on the existing breeding and production traditions and on the objectives for raising birds. At present geese are raised by using: 1) deep litter, free range, cages, or slats; 2) short daylight, diminishing light intensity, or fluorescent light; and 3) one or two cycles of lay.
Geese are not fastidious with regard to management conditions. For raising young birds, supplementary heating is necessary during the first 3 4 weeks only. Adults do not require on-premise heating and can be on pasture almost the whole year. An environmentally friendly free-range technology for keeping geese involves serial grazing, electric fencing, and avoiding both seeding of plants rejected by geese and fertilizer application.
Because geese have relatively few offspring per dam, caused by low laying intensity and short laying persistency, they can be exploited for more than one laying period. Geese cling to photorefractivity in the summer months, so it is difficult to induce summer egg production. Limitation of daylight to about 10 hours prolongs laying persistency and increases the number of hatching eggs. Artificial insemination is preferable for intensive management systems, and artificial incubation has practically replaced natural incubation as a method of securing goslings for replacement of parent stock and for meat production.
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