Harteman Wildfowl | kvk 90846257 | ubn 6872294

First breeding results of Green pygmy geese

By Jan Harteman


Like the African pygmy goose, the Green pygmy goose is one of the smallest species of wildfowl (Anseriformes). The species is native to Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. It is rarely kept in avicultural collections and only a few people had succesful breeding results in recent years.


The first captive breeding results of Green pygmy geese (Nettapus pulchellus) date 2005, when a Dutch private breeder had his first breeding results. As far as we know, no other breeder nor zoo had bred this species before. 

The proud breeder is Arnold Reuvers. In 1999 he completed his collection with a pair of Green pygmy geese. The male came from Mr Burgen (Netherlands), the female from Mr Ludger Bremehr (Germany). Both birds were unrelated wild caught birds. The male was three years of age, the female was one year younger.

Arnold put the birds in an aviary without a shelter, but protected between two buildings and a wall. The top of the aviary has partly been covered with transparent plastic boarding. There are two ponds in the pen, one bigger than the other. The bigger pond is about 215 square feet with a depth of 28 inch. The smaller pond is about 22 square feet. Both ponds are continually provided with fresh water.
Firstly, the soil of the pen was provided with peat and straw, but later he removed this material. Now the soil is covered with grass and a diversity of plants.
The other ducks in the pen were Ringed teal, but when Arnold discovered the Pygmy geese did not like the company of these ducks, he removed them from the pen.


Their menu mainly consists small grains and seed for turtle doves and millet. They also get grinded duck pellets, containing 1/3 Clark & Butcher pellets, 1/3 floating pellets and 1/3 Lundi premium floating pellets. The food is provided both at the water edge and in a small bowl. Daily they get a few mealworms as a delicacy and as addition they also get duckweed and salad.


Everyone was surprised when the female started searching for a nesting place and finally chose a higher constructed nest box with perch. After some days she started laying. Seven eggs were laid in the box. Six eggs were fertile and four of them hatched under their mother. Unfortunately two of the ducklings did not start eating the provided food, so they died. The other two did eat and grew up well and stayed for a long time with their parents.
On August 19th the female started laying again and laid seven eggs of which six were fertile. But Arnold, who is a good breeder, did not expect many eggs to hatch when he found only one dry duckling in the nest box. He supposed the other eggs had died in a later stages. Another reason could be that the young pygmy babies of the first clutch were still in the same pen, which would cause some disturbance.

Arnold worms his birds twice a year. He only candles the eggs once.

It is very nice to see the birds in their aviaries. The birds can stay on beautiful ponds, in a environment with all sorts of plants. He has bred several pairs of young birds, some of which are a nice group of Harlequins. The pens are all covered with netting.



Above: A family of green pygmy geese, Nettapus pulchellus


Green pygmy goose

Above: adult male Green pygmy goose



Above: adult female Green pygmy goose



Above: adult female Green pygmy goose



Above: an adult pair of Green pygmy geese

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