Breeds in focus
Only two species of geese have ever been domesticated: the eastern greylag — a subspecies of our familiar grey goose — and the swan goose. Wild swan geese are native to the Far East, breeding in Mongolia and wintering in eastern China. Like their cousin the greylag, they are an Anser goose. Their name comes from their long bill and slender neck, which gives them a swanlike appearance.
There are two breeds of domesticated swan goose: the Chinese, which can be grey (fawn) or white, and the African. Like its wild ancestor, the Chinese is an elegant, smallbodied goose and it retains the long swanlike neck. The fawn variety is a prolific layer, producing up to 140 eggs a year, far more than any greylag type. The African is shorter necked and has a larger, deeper body. Both are tolerant of warm climates, so are the most widely kept geese in the tropics.