Geese Breeding in Poland
The majority of poultry producers in Poland operate within a vertically integrated supply system. In the case of goose breeding, such a system starts at the National Research Institute of Animal Production in Kołuda Wielka, where the selection flock extending the species of the Biała Kołudzka goose is maintained, and reproductive goslings, i.e. laying geese, are bred. These are delivered to more than 200 reproductive breeders whose task is to produce goose eggs. Reproductive geese are reared for 4 years. Each year they lay eggs in January-June and rest in the second half of the year. Eggs laid by laying geese are bought in by hatcheries that hatch fattening geese. These goslings are delivered to the farms where they are reared for a period of 16-18 weeks until reaching the target weight of about 6.5 kg/head. For a large part of their lives, they are kept outdoors, in green areas, in the open air and not in enclosed buildings, as in other goose producing countries.
The Power of tradition
Small and medium family farms dominate in Poland, where breeding traditions often go back up to three generations. At particular stages of the supply chain, Animex concludes breeding contracts aimed at stabilising the quality and scale of goose breeding.
These farms are properly controlled, so that animals can mature in the best possible conditions with access to the natural environment. Why is it so important?
Because natural conditions play an important role in the development of high-quality down and feathers. Poland has a temperate and variable climate. One of its key features are wide amplitudes of minimum and maximum temperatures reaching respectively -30°C on cold winter nights and over 35°C on the hottest summer days. This difference in temperature has led to the formation of a perfect layer isolating the geese from frost and heat. Poland has extensive pastures, rich in lush grass. Geese have free access to clean air and clean water. All these factors influence the formation of plumage with a well-developed and strong structure as well as snow-white colour.
The leading market participants are associated in Krajowa Rada Drobiarstwa – Izba Gospodarcza (the National Poultry Council - Chamber of Commerce), which functions as a market integrator, e.g. keeps breeding registers for the Ministry of Agriculture and issues certificates of origin for the down raw material. The vertically integrated breeding system enables the preservation of species purity and quality control at each stage, which results in the highest parameters of down obtained from Polish geese.
The system in which the State produces only one specialised species of geese and supplies goslings to meat producers in an integrated breeding system is unique in the world.
Maciej Sosenko – Director of sales and purchasing of raw materials in Animex Foods