Other name(s): Grey Back Goose; Greyback Goose
Scientific name: Anser anser domesticus
Country / Place of origin: Europe
History: Pied geese such as the Buff Back have been noted in history for centuries. Their exact origins and original breeding are not clear.
Current Uses: Meat, eggs, and weed control.
Appearance: The Buff Back Goose is mostly white with contrasting buff or tan on the head, neck, shoulders, thighs, and lower back. They have an orange beak and legs and blue eyes. To distinguish the Buff Back Goose from other similar breeds such as the Pomeranian take a look at their “paunch” or vent area. It should be double lobed in the Buff Back. Grey Backs have a white and grey color pattern, a variation of the Buff Back Goose.
Average weight: 15 - 22 lbs.
Lifespan: 25 - 30 years
Diet: Geese are much herbivorous than their smaller duck cousins. If they have access to natural plants such as grasses, duckweed, and dandelions then they will only need supplemental foods. They can be given a waterfowl pelleted diet (make sure it is un-medicated), dark leafy greens, and some shredded fruits and vegetables. There are waterfowl pelleted diets that are available for each life stage of your pet goose.
Housing: The basic necessities for a happy and healthy goose habitat, beyond providing land and water, is that is be easy to keep dry and clean, predator proof, and have protection from the elements both day and night. The amount of space needed for each goose will depend on how often you will be cleaning the area and how much will remain dry at all times. For example: a 200 square foot space will need regular raking to remove droppings and need to be kept nearly 100% dry while still giving space to a pool. It may be helpful in small spaces to have multiple yards so that geese can rotate yards. In larger pastures no clean up is necessary. Ponds or pools will also need to be kept perfectly clean. This can be done by designing a pond that has continuous water flowing in and out, filtering, and/or daily draining. Their night house needs to have a minimum of 5 square feet of floor space for each goose. Bedding can be straw or pine shavings and need to be kept dry and clean. This will mean daily remove of soiled bedding. Make sure their night house also has good ventilation.
Health issues: There are several health conditions common to geese that owners need to be aware of. Most can be prevented with good care. From their eating habits they can easily get internal parasites and may need regular deworming. Botulism is another disease that duck owners should be aware of. Botulism outbreaks occur around muddy and wet areas with decaying matter when the days and nights are hot. Botulism toxicity causes paralysis, starting in the legs and moving up the body to the head, and can lead to dead. The only treatment is to support the goose with lots of regular fluids via tubing to flush their system of the toxin. Botulism can be prevented by keeping their living areas free of mud and rotting debris that attracts flies. With a proper living environment and good vet care geese can often live long healthy lives.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: These geese have a lot of character and charm.