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Breeding Toulouse geese is a lucrative business, and a rare farmer will not want to diversify their income with an article about the sale of delicious meat and large eggs. This is the largest breed of domestic geese, bred from gray, wild and large ancestors. Toulouse birds are distinguished by very good egg production and rapid weight gain. Perfectly acclimatize in the conditions of the Russian winter.
As the name implies, the breed was first registered in Toulouse, a small town in the south of France. From there, prolific geese quickly spread throughout the country, and then to Europe. Wild gray geese were used for breeding toulouse, crossing of which with poultry began in the 18th century. By the middle of the century, farmers had registered for the first time a new breed of massive beef birds.
Description and characteristics of Toulouse geese
The geese are large and fleshy. In two months, they can reach 4 kg, and adult birds - up to 10 kg. The body is set horizontally, the neck is long and massive. The plumage is dark gray, somewhat lighter on the chest and abdomen. The belly may be white. Young birds are dark brown in color, gray over time. A distinctive feature of the breed is a "purse" under the beak and a double fat fold on the belly.
There is a variety of "wallet-free" Toulouse geese - they are smaller, but more fertile.
Pros and cons of the breed
The main advantage is the unusually large weight. Even two-month-old chicks are quite suitable for slaughter. From one brood, you can get up to 20 kg of pure duck meat. The carcass has a large amount of subcutaneous fat, which gives the meat nutritional value. The down is soft and suitable for use as a filling. However, if poultry is grown specifically for fluff, egg production and weight gain suffer.
But Toulouse geese also have disadvantages. The main one is inactivity. It is difficult for birds to move because of their massive body, so the meat turns out to be quite fatty. In geese, the function of sexual instinct and fertilization is reduced, therefore geese are often very reluctant to incubate eggs. The breed is demanding on feeding and keeping conditions.
Maintenance and care requirements
The main requirement for keeping Toulouse geese is the absence of drafts in the room. Because of the draft, the young can easily get sick, and treating them is not always economically profitable. The optimum temperature in winter is 12-15 degrees Celsius. The litter should be dry and clean - sawdust, peat, sand. Before filling in a fresh portion, you need to pour in a small amount of slaked lime. The average consumption of slaked lime per square meter is 1 kg.
The house is cleaned at least once a day. Watch out for the humidity in the room - too high a moisture content is detrimental to ducklings, leading to the appearance of diseases. A large number of heads should not be allowed to accumulate in a confined area. It is best to locate the house as close to the water as possible, or to dig a small pond specifically for geese.
What to feed
You need to feed goslings immediately after birth. The first five days of giving feed - at least 8 times a day. Adult geese can be fed 2 times a day. The main food is given at night. In the summer, the herd is released to pasture. An adult goose can eat up to 1 kg of grass, but since the bird moves a lot, the meat is not as fatty. The finished feed should not be too juicy or concentrated. Wheat, corn, a small amount of sunflower meal are well suited.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
The quantity and taste of the meat will depend on the quality of the feed. To increase the immunity of birds, it is recommended to add vitamins and minerals to the feed, for example, egg shells.
There should always be clean water in the drinker. The drinker should be long enough for each goose to drink to its fullest. The optimal length is 4 cm per bird. Drinkers are washed at least once every two days, and the water in the bathing trough is changed every day.
The first clutches of goose begin to do in late February-early March. For earlier egg production, it is recommended to irradiate the chicken coop with ultraviolet light. The nest boxes must be clean. Do not touch the nests or move them from place to place, turn the eggs over.
If breeding is carried out by incubation, eggs with live embryos must be carefully selected. For this, it is recommended to use an ovoscope - the embryo should be in the center of the egg. The optimal size of an egg is 7-9 cm long, weighing up to 200 g. Before placing in the incubator, you do not need to wash dirty eggs - water will disrupt the air exchange of the fetus.
It is allowed to store eggs until they are laid in the incubator for a period not exceeding 8 days. In this case, the eggs should lie on their side. The optimum humidity of the incubator is 70-80%, and the temperature is not higher than 38 degrees.
Toulouse geese are sensitive to the most common goose pathologies - viral enteritis, salmonellosis, colibacillosis, pasteurellosis. All these are bacterial and viral infections that enter the poultry house along with new geese that have not served their quarantine, poor-quality food and water.
Sick birds can be seen immediately - they are lethargic, with tousled plumage, refuse to eat and feed, often lie motionless. The body temperature is elevated, and mucus is brown or yellow in color from the nose and eyes.
As a rule, pathologies arise due to violations of the conditions of detention and feeding. Therefore, an easy way to prevent illness is to carefully observe all sanitary and hygienic standards and adjust the diet in accordance with the season. Cured birds should not be allowed to breed, because the virus circulates in the blood for the rest of their lives, and they can infect goslings, which will quickly die. Therefore, after an outbreak of infection, almost the entire house will have to be used for meat.