1. The ferus, Grey Lag, or Wild Goose, that inhabits the fens, where each female hatches eight or nine young, which are frequently caught, easily tamed, and afford excellent meat, far superior to that of the do-mesticated kind. Towards winter, they collect in flocks, but reside the whole year in the marshes.
2. The mansuetus, or TameGoose, or the Grey Lag in a state of domestication, from which it varies in colour, being more or less inclined to a grey. It is, however, often found perfectly white, especially the males or ganders.
The goose, in general, breeds only once in the course of a year ; but, if well kept, it will frequently hatch twice within that period. Three of these birds are usually allotted to a gander; for, if that number were increased, the eggs would be rendered abortive : the quantity of eggs to each goose for sitting, is about twelve or thirteen.-While brooding, they ought to be fed with corn and water, which must be placed near them, so that they may eat at pleasure. The males should never be excluded from their company, because they are then instinctively anxious to watch over, and guard their own geese.
The nests, in which these birds sit, ought to be made of straw, and so confined that the eggs cannot roll out, as the geese, turn them every day. When they are near-ly hatched, it will be requisite to break slightly the shell near the beak of the young gosling, as well for the purpose of admitting air, as to enable it to make its way at the proper time.
Geese are very valuable, on account of the feathers they afford : for this purpose, they are unmercifully plucked in the county of Lincoln (where they are reared in the largest numbers) Jive times in the year : the first operation is performed at Lady-day, for feathers and quills, and is repeated four times between that period and Michaelmas, for feathers only. 'The old birds submit quietly, but the young ones frequently prove unruly and noisy. The latter may be plucked once, when about thirteen or fourteen weeks old, for feathers ; but no quills must be taken from them ; nor should this opera-tion be performed at too early a season, because the goslings are liable to perish in cold summers. - Although the plucking of geese has by many been considered as a barbarous custom, yet experience has evinced, that these birds, when properly stripped of their feathers, thrive better, and are more healthy, than if-they-were- permitted to drop them by moulting. As geese form a principal delicacy at our tables, the most expeditious -mode of fattening them is an object of some importance. Hence it has been recommended-to keep them cooped up in a dark and narrow place, where they are to be. fed with ground malt mixed with milk, or if milk be scarce, with barley-meal, mashed up with water. Another, and' less expensive way, of which we can speak from experience, consists in giving them boiled oats with either ducks-meat, or chopped carrots, alternately, as they are exceedingly fond of variety : thus, they will become very fat in a few weeks, while their meat acquires a fine flavour.
In order to fatten Michaelmas, or stubble-geese, it has been direet-ed, first to turn them on the wheat-eddises, or those pastures that grow after wheat has been harvested. Next, they are to be pent up, and fed with ground malt mix-ed with water, for which, boiled oats, malty or wheat, may occasionally be substituted. This method of fattening, however, by no means - deserves to be countenanced, for, as the flesh of geese is naturally a precarious food, confinement, without exercise, renders it still more unwholesome. Their fat, indeed, is almost indigestible; an a very bad effect and ulcers. It is also pernicious to persons, whose habits of body predispose them to inflammatory diseases, and frequent eruptions of the skin; for the prevention-of which, they ought prudently to abstain from this deli-cious-morsel.