First of all, it's important to understand the origin of Foie Gras.
Foie Gras was discovered in Egypt 4000 years ago, when wild geese migrated to spend the winter in the marshes of the Nile Delta. Amazed by the size and taste of these goose livers, the Egyptians understood that the animals naturally created their fattened livers by deliberately overeating in order to accomplish their long migratory flights. One only had to reproduce this method in farm to discover Foie Gras.
The fattening of geese and ducks arose from observing their natural tendency to eat more than normally necessary, to provide for their annual migration. It is recognized that during this time, the weight of certain migratory birds can be increased by half! From North to South in winter, or South to North in summer, ducks and geese fill up before they face their aerial marathon and the inclement conditions on the way.
Geese and ducks enjoy a long and happy life in the open air before their short period of fattening. To ensure the quality of the Foie Gras, it is essential that the birds are always healthy and raised in optimum conditions of care. Comfortable, calm and hygienic is the best way to obtain a product deserving of the name of Foie Gras.
The ducklings and goslings are born at a hatchery (certified by the Veterinary Service), then bought by a breeder who will care for them from the first days of their lives to the end of the fattening process; 90% of their lives are spent in an open field.
The geese and ducks discover their migratory instincts once they are exposed to ad-lib feeding. Ready to increase themselves, they eat excessively, extending their crops, which is essential for the fattening stage. On commencing the brief period of fattening, around 12 days for ducks and 18-22 days for geese, they receive maize grains. This diet is purposely adapted to the needs of each duck or goose.
Great benefits are gained from recent studies, the physiology of the animals, their nutritional needs, ideal habitats, genetic tendencies, and the quality of the responses to the system of rearing.
On the rearing farms, whether small or large, the natural tendency to overeat is reproduced in these migratory birds. The fattening is a nourishment process applied with knowledge and flexibility by these breeders; it is done in the best interests of the animal. This is knowledge using modern techniques that benefit both the staff and the animals. Remember that, unlike the chicken, geese and ducks don't have crops (pouch-like enlargements of a bird's gullet in which food is partially digested or stored for regurgitation to nestlings). The esophagus is a long tube, which leads to the stomach. This tube is luckily very elastic and can perform functions of a crop during this period.
The results of scientific research proved the natural aptitude of certain species to produce Foie Gras. The stress of fattening is less than that caused by simply capturing the birds and is of a limited duration as it disappears after two or three days of fattening.
Migratory birds, in particular, naturally overfeed in order that they might survive winter and fly long distances. For these reasons, they store quantities of fat in their liver. Following this observation, man has copied this natural process for 4000 years to obtain the delicacy we call Foie Gras.
Goose Foie Gras, like that of duck, contains principally beneficial fats, iron, vitamin A and lots of vitamin B9 (Folic Acid). The fat of Foie Gras is essentially composed of monounsaturated fatty acids and its effects are known to be beneficial to blood cholesterol levels. It is important to remember that goose or duck fat is much less rich than butter and other saturated fatty acids. This level of unsaturated fatty acids has obvious health benefits. It's that we call the "French paradox".