4
Nutrient Requirements of Geese

Geese are reared under a variety of feeding programs. In the production of "farm geese," the goslings are given starter feed for about 2 weeks and then allowed to forage for a variety of pasture and grain feedstuffs. Under these conditions, they are marketable at about 18 weeks. In another program, the goslings are fed limited amounts of prepared feed throughout the growing period but are still allowed considerable foraging. These geese are marketed at about 14 weeks of age, following liberal feeding of a high-energy finishing diet. Geese may also be provided feed for ad libitum consumption in confinement and marketed as "junior" or "green geese" at about 10 weeks. A program practiced in European countries involves the production of goose livers for paté de foie gras. The geese are grown to about 12 weeks and are then force-fed a high-energy diet for the production of livers of high-fat content. Geese for breeding purposes are fed holding and breeding diets for the intensive production of fertile eggs.

The nutrient requirements data presented in Table 4-1 are primarily applicable to geese reared in confinement. The nitrogen-corrected metabolizable energy (MEn) concentrations heading each column are not requirements; instead they represent what are considered typical dietary MEn values used for rearing geese commercially. Feed consumption by growing geese decreases as dietary MEn level increases, but not in direct proportion (Stevenson, 1985). Consequently, geese fed high-energy diets consume greater amounts of energy, and deposit more body fat, than do geese fed lower-energy diets (Roberson and Francis, 1963a; Stevenson, 1985).

Data obtained from research done since 1980 by using fast-growing geese were used to establish the protein requirements given in Table 4-1. These data show that starting geese (0 to 4 weeks of age) require no more than 20 percent protein (Allen, 1981; Nitsan et al., 1983; Summers et al., 1987) for satisfactory growth, carcass composition, and feathering. Earlier research (Roberson and Francis, 1963a,b) with White Chinese geese had indicated that the protein requirement during the period from 0 to 6 weeks was 24 percent. In view of recent data, it is questionable whether this higher requirement applies to modern, commercial geese. No research data on the protein requirement of geese used for breeding or egg production were found in the literature.

Little information has been published describing the amino acid, mineral, or vitamin requirements of geese (Appendix Table A-5). Roberson and Francis (1966) reported that 0.90 percent lysine was needed for maximum growth and efficiency of feed utilization by 0- to 3-week-old White Chinese geese fed a diet containing

TABLE 4-1 Nutrient Requirements of Geese as Percentages or Units per Kilogram of Diet (90 percent dry matter)

Nutrients

Unit

0 to 4 Weeks; 2,900a

After 4 Weeks; 3,000a

Breeding; 2,900a

Protein and amino acids

Protein

%

20

15

15

Lysine

%

1.0

0.85

0.6

Methionine + cystine

%

0.60

0.50

0.50

Macrominerals

Calcium

%

0.65

0.60

2.25

Nonphytate phosphorus

%

0.30

0.3

0.3

Fat soluble vitamins

A

IU

1,500

1,500

4,000

D3

IU

200

200

200

Water soluble vitamins

Choline

mg

1,500

1,000

?

Niacin

mg

65.0

35.0

20.0

Pantothenic acid

mg

15.0

10.0

10.0

Riboflavin

mg

3.8

2.5

4.0

NOTE: For nutrients not listed or those for which no values are given, see requirements of chickens (Table 2-5) as a guide. Where experimental data are lacking, values typeset in bold italic represent an estimate based on values obtained for other ages or species.

a These are typical dietary energy concentrations expressed in kcal MEn/kg diet.





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Nutrient Requirements of Poultry: Ninth Revised Edition, 1994 4 Nutrient Requirements of Geese Geese are reared under a variety of feeding programs. In the production of "farm geese," the goslings are given starter feed for about 2 weeks and then allowed to forage for a variety of pasture and grain feedstuffs. Under these conditions, they are marketable at about 18 weeks. In another program, the goslings are fed limited amounts of prepared feed throughout the growing period but are still allowed considerable foraging. These geese are marketed at about 14 weeks of age, following liberal feeding of a high-energy finishing diet. Geese may also be provided feed for ad libitum consumption in confinement and marketed as "junior" or "green geese" at about 10 weeks. A program practiced in European countries involves the production of goose livers for paté de foie gras. The geese are grown to about 12 weeks and are then force-fed a high-energy diet for the production of livers of high-fat content. Geese for breeding purposes are fed holding and breeding diets for the intensive production of fertile eggs. The nutrient requirements data presented in Table 4-1 are primarily applicable to geese reared in confinement. The nitrogen-corrected metabolizable energy (MEn) concentrations heading each column are not requirements; instead they represent what are considered typical dietary MEn values used for rearing geese commercially. Feed consumption by growing geese decreases as dietary MEn level increases, but not in direct proportion (Stevenson, 1985). Consequently, geese fed high-energy diets consume greater amounts of energy, and deposit more body fat, than do geese fed lower-energy diets (Roberson and Francis, 1963a; Stevenson, 1985). Data obtained from research done since 1980 by using fast-growing geese were used to establish the protein requirements given in Table 4-1. These data show that starting geese (0 to 4 weeks of age) require no more than 20 percent protein (Allen, 1981; Nitsan et al., 1983; Summers et al., 1987) for satisfactory growth, carcass composition, and feathering. Earlier research (Roberson and Francis, 1963a,b) with White Chinese geese had indicated that the protein requirement during the period from 0 to 6 weeks was 24 percent. In view of recent data, it is questionable whether this higher requirement applies to modern, commercial geese. No research data on the protein requirement of geese used for breeding or egg production were found in the literature. Little information has been published describing the amino acid, mineral, or vitamin requirements of geese (Appendix Table A-5). Roberson and Francis (1966) reported that 0.90 percent lysine was needed for maximum growth and efficiency of feed utilization by 0- to 3-week-old White Chinese geese fed a diet containing TABLE 4-1 Nutrient Requirements of Geese as Percentages or Units per Kilogram of Diet (90 percent dry matter) Nutrients Unit 0 to 4 Weeks; 2,900a After 4 Weeks; 3,000a Breeding; 2,900a Protein and amino acids Protein % 20 15 15 Lysine % 1.0 0.85 0.6 Methionine + cystine % 0.60 0.50 0.50 Macrominerals Calcium % 0.65 0.60 2.25 Nonphytate phosphorus % 0.30 0.3 0.3 Fat soluble vitamins A IU 1,500 1,500 4,000 D3 IU 200 200 200 Water soluble vitamins Choline mg 1,500 1,000 ? Niacin mg 65.0 35.0 20.0 Pantothenic acid mg 15.0 10.0 10.0 Riboflavin mg 3.8 2.5 4.0 NOTE: For nutrients not listed or those for which no values are given, see requirements of chickens (Table 2-5) as a guide. Where experimental data are lacking, values typeset in bold italic represent an estimate based on values obtained for other ages or species. a These are typical dietary energy concentrations expressed in kcal MEn/kg diet.

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Nutrient Requirements of Poultry: Ninth Revised Edition, 1994 20 percent protein and 2,950 kcal MEn/kg. More recently, Mateova et al. (1980) found that 1.10 percent lysine was satisfactory for starting geese. Mateova et al. (1980) also reported that from 4 to 8 weeks of age geese needed 0.85 percent lysine in a diet containing 2,945 kcal MEn/kg. Nitsan et al. (1983) used body composition, maintenance needs, and absorption rate of amino acids to estimate the lysine requirements of geese. Subsequent testing of the results in feeding trials indicated that goslings required 1.07 and 0.60 percent lysine during the period from 0 to 2 and 2 to 7 weeks, respectively. Requirements of geese for other essential amino acids were estimated by Nitsan et al. (1983), and the results indicated that 0.58 percent total sulfur amino acids (TSAA) and 0.29 percent methionine were needed from 0 to 2 weeks of age and 0.47 percent TSAA and 0.15 percent methionine were required from 2 to 7 weeks. Calcium and total phosphorus requirements of geese were estimated at 0.4 percent and 0.46 percent of the diet, respectively, for geese from 0 to 4 weeks of age (Aitken et al., 1958). These estimates have not been corroborated by recent research. Briggs et al. (1953) documented the need for dietary folic acid, choline, and niacin by goslings but did not estimate requirements. Battig et al. (1953) reported that 66 mg of dietary niacin per kilogram of diet (40 mg supplemented plus 26 mg in the ingredients) were required to prevent perosis and maximize growth of geese to 3 weeks of age. Serafin (1981) fed purified diets to Embden goslings from hatch to 2 or 3 weeks and found that, for growth and liveability, requirements for riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and choline were no more than 3.8, 31.2, 12.6, and 1,530 mg/kg, respectively. Laboratory analysis TABLE 4-2 Approximate Body Weights and Feed Consumption of Commercially Reared Male and Female Geese to 10 Weeks of Age Age (weeks) Average Body Weight (kg) Feed Consumption by 2-Week Period (kg) Cumulative Feed Consumption (kg) 0 0.11 0.00 0.00 2 0.82 0.96 0.96 4 2.05 2.93 3.89 6 3.05 3.20 7.09 8 4.05 4.34 11.43 10 4.85 4.68 16.11 of the basal purified diet showed that concentrations of the vitamins studied were very low; hence the requirement data reported herein represent levels of supplemental vitamins that were supplied in highly available forms. Thus, supplemental vitamins, which probably were readily utilized by the geese, were used to establish the requirements for riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and choline. Requirements established in this way may not be totally applicable to feeding commercial geese because vitamins supplied by commonly used ingredients of geese diets are less available than those of supplemental origin. The paucity of research on the nutrient requirements of geese illustrates the need for additional efforts focused on this area of nutrition. Body weight and feed consumption data presented in Table 4-2 are approximations obtained from a combination of research results and input from persons involved in the production of geese.