Goose Club Journal: January 2006:

The Tufted American Buff Geese.


A few years ago we had the opportunity to import some American Buff and Tufted American Buff geese from the USA. We only wanted the geese as pets and didnít have the intention to start breeding with them until I contacted ALBC (American Livestock Breeding Conservancy) . I wrote an e-mail in English to ask if they could tell me more about the American buff goose because I had read on their website that the American buff was an endangered breed. You wonít believe it but I received an answer in Dutch. The office manager of ALBC turned out to be a Dutch lady who lives in the US. She was very happy to hear we had imported those geese and asked me if I would start to breed with them because in the US there wasnít much interest for them. Please do try to give them a change in Europe she said. I also heard from John Metzer from who we bought the geese that we were the only one in Europe who had the American Tufted Buff Geese. At first my reaction was: Thatís nice we have something unique but Iím not going to breed with them. A lot of our friends who heard about this said it we couldnít keep those geese only to ourselves knowing those facts. Oh no, my answer was every time: Iím not going to breed with them. I donít know anything about breeding I told them. Weíll help you they told me and the reason we did start to breed was that they are endangered in the US so we hope to give them a chance in Europe. Beside the help of our friends I bought every book about geese I could get to get some more information but after some years I noticed you only learn by just doing it. We still face new problems on which nobody has an answer and I just try and see what will happen. So far all goes very well and we enjoy it very much.

As we had bought 2 American Buff and 6 American tufted Buff geese we started breeding at first with only the Tufted American Buff. John Metzer had told me all our geese were unrelated so we could start with four couples. As we only had two American Buffs at that time we crossed them with the Tufted Buff because we had a tufted lady with some white flights. That was the only way to get the color back in as this breed was originated by crossing the American Buff with the Tufted Roman geese by the late Mrs. Ruth Book. We also had a tufted gander with blue eyes so we crossed him with the American Buff goose. The offspring of those geese were fine, especially the ones from the Tufted goose and the American Buff gander. The other two tufted couples also gave nice offspring. We had some very beautiful goslings that year. We also have a tufted gander with a curved beak; our Cassanova, and at first we didnít dare to breed with him because it could be genetic. It appeared only a few days after he had arrived from the US so I took him to our vet. As our vet is a specialist in broken bones etc with dogs and cats I hoped he could tell me what it was. I donít know anything about geese he told me. You donít have to know anything about geese I told him but you know everything about bones etc. and please tell me whatís wrong with our Cas his beak. Two weeks later, after he had contacted some other vets, he called me and said it wasnít genetic and he could fix it but he wouldnít do it. Oh why wonít you fix it I asked him. You told me he doesnít have any problems with it and can eat very well and as itís very painful to correct his beak Iím not going to do it. I only could agree with him when he had told me that. Our Cassanova is everyoneís favorite and his children have normal beaks! The year after a friend called me that he was at a Call duck breeder and that breeder had a lot of Casanovaís walking around. Our Cassanova has been helped out of his egg and probably they have damaged his beak because that was the conclusion of the Call duck breeder as he helps most of his ducklings to hatch.

American tufted Buff geese are very sociable and friendly geese. They love their keepers and are very easy to get tame especially when you hatch the eggs yourself in a hatching machine. They are also very curious and never forget a thing. We have a gander called Jules and every time he followed me to the gate and watched me how I opened and closed it. At that moment I didnít notice he was watching me carefully but one afternoon I looked outside the kitchen window and I saw our Carmen and Juanita in Jules his penn. As the are housed in the penn next to Jules I went outside to see what had happened. Gate open, so I thought I didnít lock it properly. I separate all and locked the gate but half an hour later it happened again and I remembered Jules had watched me carefully every time I went through that gate. Again I separated them and locked the gate. I then didnít went inside but hide myself behind a tree because I saw Jules was watching me if I would leave. As he couldnít see me anymore Jules went to the gate and opened it with his beak and called the others they could come. They are very clever and eager to learn! We changed the lock so Jules canít open it anymore. He wasnít happy with it. The Tufted Americans can be noisy when they see strangers but most of the time they are very calm although they do like to talk a lot to their keepers. When Iím working in the garden they follow me everywhere and have a lot of comments. They also want to do what Iím doing so normally what I have planed in an hour takes me two hours. Everything I throw in the bucket they get out. They are also very graceful and elegant medium-sized geese. Proud and almost arrogant to look at, probably due to the tuft of feathers on the top of its head. This tuft, which begins right behind the eyes, consists purely of upright feathers and is definitely not a lump on the head of the goose as many people think. If you flatten the feathers with some gel then you would have a smooth headed goose. The American Tufted Buff goose is also an active and lively goose which is always up for a folic with a run and a flap of its wings. A bath or small pond would really be appreciated; they can spend hours lying in it, floating and splashing. Particularly after the mould, when they realize that they have all their feathers back, they will run around at full speed and flap their wings. They can accidentally fly over the fence and land in the middle of another group. We are then called loudly for help.

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