Although there are now many colour variations, Chinese Geese are standardised for exhibition in two colour forms: the white and the brown (also called ‘grey’ or ‘fawn’). The brown is the same colour as the brown African. The larger African or ‘Lion Head’ was reared as a table bird; the lighter weight Chinese produces more eggs.
Chinese are light-weight, graceful birds. They have a long, slightly curved neck and a rounded, prominent knob on the head which is much larger in the gander. The function of this is not known. This feature is seen in Mute Swans, but seems to have developed in the Chinese Goose after domestication from the wild Swan Goose.
Chinese are the noisiest breed of geese, and have been employed as ‘watchdogs’. They can be very independent and quite aggressive. But hand-reared, they are tame and amenable. The birds mostly kept and exhibited in Britain now are the lighter-weight ‘American’ exhibition geese which are far more showy than the ‘English’ type of the pre-1970s.
Exhibition Chinese ganders should weigh 4.5-5.4 kg (10-12 lbs) and the geese weighing 3.6-4.5 kg (8-10 lbs). Geese can lay as many as 80 eggs per annum, and may lay in the autumn as well as spring and early summer. Not all strains are this prolific.