African Dewlap Geese
After losing some ducks to predators, we opted to try geese as a deterrent—something large and imposing—a waterfowl watchdog, so to speak. Livestock Conservancy has a number of geese on the endangered breeds list, but the African Dewlap caught our eye with their large body, erect, watchful posture, large eyes, unique-looking dewlap beneath their lower jaw and protuberance or knob on their forehead. Despite its impressive and intimidating appearance, African Delap geese are actually docile creatures when there is no imminent threat. They can often be seen napping in the sun; quietly foraging for grubs, soft grass, and worms; bathing in a creek or shallow area of the pond; gliding gently across the water or diving beneath the surface and then jetting up again some distance away.
Our flock originated from Holderread’s top-show quality lines. We started with one pair, Bogey and Bacall, a Brown and Buff respectively, and then added more top-show quality breeding pairs from Holderread later on. Each hen lays between 30 and 35 large white eggs during their Spring breeding season. This is when the ganders, or male African Dewlaps, are most protective and defensive around their females. Ganders may mate with multiple hens, but an African Dewlap hen will pair with only one gander, usually the same mate she had the preceding year.
To warn off would-be threats, the African Dewlap lowers its neck and head in a warning, offensive position. Whenever possible, a gander will grab the would-be attacker with its beak and quickly fan its wings forward, giving his foe a swift, violent strike. The beak can clamp with significant pressure, and together with the wing strike, can leave painful bruises.
While the African Dewlaps will be aggressive when defending their mates, they are overall still a splendid and gentle breed, elegant and fiercely loyal. In our opinion, they are one of the best heavy-bodied waterfowl you can add to your flock.