Goose selection: animal welfare, health safety and performance

Partner(s): Grimaud Frères
Industry(ies): Other poultry

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For many years, Grimaud Frères has been selecting different lines of geese breeders for the commercialization of day-old goslings of several types: white geese for the French roasting market or for the international market, grey geese for fattening.

While the image of the goose is generally associated with grazing and free-range in an extensive system, Grimaud Frères has chosen to secure its selection by breeding the animals in buildings to protect them from external health threats.

To meet their needs and allow them to express all their behaviours, the animals are kept on a complete bedding system, both as future breeders and as breeders. The watering system is provided by bowl drinkers, which allow them to dip their beaks.

In addition to the need to drink, access to water is a central element of well-being for these poultries, particularly for cleaning their plumage. We provide the animals with alfalfa to give them fiber and enrichment. The aim is to give them all the elements they need to express their needs while protecting them from pathogens.

The juvenile animals are reared separately by sex and strain to allow them to express their full growth potential without competition at the feed bunk or mimicry. This allows us to identify candidates that best express their genetic potential for individual growth in groups and in confinement. The selected animals are both efficient and easy to manage and transmit these qualities to their descendants.

When the individual growth phenotypes are compiled, selection pressure is applied and only those juveniles that meet the field expectations will continue their pedigree-breeding career.

Once the choice of selection has been made, the challenge is to prepare animals that have been driven ad libitum to be ready for reproduction a few months later. This involves fine management of the feeding and lighting plan to ensure that all animals reach sexual maturity at the same time. Males and females are kept separate during this phase to best meet their physiological needs during this phase of sexual maturation. Then the two sexes are brought together in medium-sized pens where they live freely.

The animals are allotted to minimise inbreeding. By maximising parental diversity, the allelic combinations of the descendants are optimised, thus providing heterosis and robustness through the preservation of heterozygosity. 

Parrying and mating take place and egg laying is recorded to allow selection for numerical productivity. Reproduction takes place by natural mating and genealogy is ensured by parentage assignment, without caging or insemination. Our breeders who work among the geese collect the eggs daily from the nest. The calmness of the animals is an undeniable asset for the animal and human well-being.

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Goose & pigeon R&D engineer


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