Just outside Portadown in County Armagh lives John Neill and his family. John has been involved in keeping pure bred poultry and waterfowl for many years now, including a number of varieties of rare and minority breeds.
Among his fowl collection he specialises in Chinese Geese, keeping both standard colours which are the more common brown or grey variety and the less common white variety.
John hatches from both colour varieties each year and exhibits geese at most local agricultural poultry shows and winter club shows.
He has enjoyed great success with this breed. John has won Best Goose award with his Chinese Geese at a number of agricultural poultry shows and winter club shows.
His best result to date is winning Champion Goose at the Dromore Waterfowl Show and also at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society’s Balmoral Show.
His little son Carter loves spending time with the goslings which, with their early human interaction, become more tame.
The Chinese goose has become quite popular in recent times here thankfully, and can be found in the two standard colours and also in non standard colours of Lavender, Pied and Buff.
John has been dedicated to this breed for a few years now, which he keeps on a grass pasture site.
His Chinese geese are a lovely sight as they are a tall, slim, elegant breed moving about in small flocks.
I wish John continued success with his birds and preserving these wonderfully elegant geese.
History of the Chinese Goose
The Chinese Goose originated from the wild Swan Goose, which is found in the wild in Mongolia, China and Russia.
The domesticated Chinese Goose differs from their wild ancestor in that they are a lot larger and have a large basal knob on the top of their bill which tends to be more prominent in the males.
Historically they have been known by many names, such as the Hong Kong goose, Muscovy Goose and Swan Goose, but early waterfowl keepers in the 19th century settled on Chinese Geese as their name.
They were first exhibited in Philadelphia, USA, in 1857 and entered into the American standard of perfection in 1874 and much later in 1954 they were entered into the British Waterfowl standards.
It is the best laying domestic goose breed with some strains laying in excess of 100 eggs a year.
Although they are small bodied in comparison to other goose breeds, apparently they can also be used for the table with less fat than other breeds but for me I would rather keep them for their beautiful elegance and eggs.
I remember the first time I hatched white Chinese geese – when they first hatched the best word I could use to describe the goslings was “wow” as they were bright yellow in colour.
Known for their loudness, they are also a great breed to keep as an alarm, letting you know if anyone is approaching.
The Chinese goose, with their tall regal appearance, are such a lovely breed of waterfowl and a lovely addition to any collection of fowl kept in a rural setting.
n John Neill can be contacted through Facebook or by telephoning 07776 480199.