Snow goose, or Blue goose(Anser caerulescens)
Genus – anser
Snow geese stand 63.5 to 78.7 cm tall (and average 70 cm in length) with wing lengths varying from 400 to 450 mm. They weigh from 2 to 3 kg. Males and females are similar in appearance although males are usually larger. There are two phases seen in Anser caerulescens called the "snow" phase and the "blue" phase. In the adult "snow" phase the body is a snowy white with black wing tips. They have red feet and legs, a pink bill, and a black "grin patch" (the black patch of skin that surrounds the base of the bill, which resembles a smile). The adult blue phase geese have the same feet, legs, bill, and grin patch, but they have blue/gray bodies with black wing tips. They also have white necks and heads, and some white on the underside of their bellies. In the immature snow phase the body is a dirty white color with black wing tips and in the immature blue phase they are a slate gray with little or no white. In both immature phases they have red feet and legs but they are not as bright as the adult goose.
These geese breed north of the timberline in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern tip of Siberia, and spend winters in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to Mexico. It can fly as far south as Texas and Mexico during winter, and returns to nest on the Arctic tundra each spring. It is a rare vagrant to Europe but for a frequent escape from collections and an occasional feral breeder. Snow geese are visitors to the British Isles where they are seen regularly among flocks of barnacle, Brent and Greenland white-fronted geese. There is also a feral population in Scotland from which many vagrant birds in Britain seem to derive.
Snow geeseare migratory birds that travel all the way from the northeast of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and back. They travel in large flocks made of many family units and fly during both night and day. They tend to return to the same nesting areas year after year. During nesting the geese break up into monogamous pairs. Both parents guard the brood, but the female does most of the brooding of the young. When taking the broods away from nest site females tend to group together in family packs. The males are territorial toward other males, and the females toward other females. They usually nest in colonies, but some nest individually.
Snow geese are herbivorous; they eat roots, leaves, grasses, and sedges. They have strong bills for digging up roots in thick mud.
Foods eaten include: saltgrass, wild millet, spikeruch, feathergrass, panic grass, seashore paspalum, delta duckpatato, bulrush, cordgrass, cattail, ryegrass, wild rice, berries, aquatic plants and invertebrates, and agricultural crops.
Long-term pair bonds are usually formed in the second year, although breeding does not usually start until the third year. Females are strongly philopatric, meaning they will return to the place they hatched to breed.
Snow geese often nest in colonies. Nesting usually begins at the end of May or during the first few days of June, depending on snow conditions. The female selects a nest site and builds the nest on an area of high ground. The nest is a shallow depression lined with plant material and may be reused from year to year. After the female lays the first of three to five eggs, she lines the nest with down. The female incubates for 22 to 25 days, and the young leave the nest within a few hours of hatching.
The young feed themselves, but are protected by both parents. After 42 to 50 days they can fly, but they remain with their family until they are two to three years old.
The lifespan of the snow goose is unknown, but is believed to be more than 15 years in the wild.
When keeping this species, it is necessary to have a pool with water or a natural reservoir. The optimal ratio of the reservoir area to pasture is 20% water and 80% pasture. The optimal area of the entire enclosure is 200 sq. m. The optimal height of grass in the pasture is 7.5 cm.
It is necessary to build a poultry house on the territory of the aviary. Geese will be able to hide in it from the cold and wind in the cold season. You need constantly to update the litter in the poultry house. For such bedding, you will need about 40 kg of dry straw (hay). It is important to replace the wet bedding in time. Otherwise, the plumage quickly becomes dirty and does not protect the bird from the cold.
The poultry house should be made of wood or mud. Humidity and drafts are not allowed in it. Proper maintenance of geese is the key to their health.
During the construction of a poultry house, it is very important to take into account that at least one square meter of floor space should be allocated for one adult goose. With a higher density, the room will quickly become polluted, and the air in it will stagnate. This can cause diseases of wild geese and significantly reduce their productivity. Once a year, you need to whitewash the walls with freshly slaked lime.
Geese eat natural grasses. You can add to herbs: wheat grains, waterfowl pellets, and chicken feed. If there is not enough grass on the pasture, it is necessary to bring mown fresh grass. In winter, you can feed sliced vegetables, especially good to give cabbage and salads. Not averse to eating worms, insects and shellfish sometimes.