Geese: Light

Chinese

The Chinese is an elegant, fine, small goose, active and good at foraging. Although it shares the same wild ancestor (the Swan goose) as the African, which can be seen in the similarity of colour and marking, in shape and size the two breeds are very different. Chinese have been present in Britain since at least the early 18th Century. As mentioned in the U.K. Standards of 1923 the breed is now standardized in both brown/grey and white varieties. The most distinctive feature is a prominent knob rising from the base of the beak. They are highly vocal by nature and have a reputation for being good “watch dogs” and are famous for guarding some whisky distilleries in Scotland. The Chinese goose is also the most prolific layer of all geese.

Chinese

Czech

Old, long established breed of goose from Bohemia. There it was a small table goose which thrived in the damp meadows. It laid plenty of eggs, starting early in the season, and produced a good crop of goslings. The breed was well known in the former East Germany and it was re-imported there from in 1959 from whence it passed to West Germany and later to the UK in the 1990s.

Czech

Pilgrim

This is known as an auto-sexing breed because the males and females are a different colour; the gander is white and the goose grey. Auto-sexing geese in these colours have been found in the U.S.A., the U.K., France, parts of Northern Europe and Australia. They may well have been taken to the Eastern States of the U.S.A. by early settlers from Europe. Oscar Grow, an expert on waterfowl in the U.S.A., claims to have developed the breed in Iowa and when he relocated to Missouri in the Great depression of the 1930s he named the breed Pilgrim in memory of this move. The breed was first Standardized in the U.S.A. in 1939 and in 1999 in the U.K. The Pilgrim has a reputation for being a calm, sweet tempered and personable bird, with good parenting qualities and a fast growth rate.

Pilgrim

Roman

Supposedly the breed of geese which saved Ancient Rome from a night-time attack by the Gauls. The geese heard the enemy, and the noise the geese made alerted the guards and the Roman citadel was saved. The Roman is a small cobby goose and was first introduced into U.K. at the beginning of the 20th century. Standardized in 1982 edition of the British Poultry Standards. The Roman also occurs in a Crested form.

Roman

Sebastopol

The Sebastopol takes its name from the Black Sea port of the same name. They were introduced into the U.K. by the diplomat Lord Dufferin in 1860, when he was sent to sort out problems in countries surrounding the Black Sea. Sebastopol geese occur widely in these areas and around the Danube and its tributaries.

The Sebastopol is unique, and instantly recognizable in that it has curled, soft quilled feathers. There are two forms of the Sebastopol, the Smooth Breasted, which has normal feathers on head, neck, breast and abdomen, with long curled feathers trailing from wings, back and tail. The Curly Breasted has a more pronounced curl to the feathers, which also cover the breast and abdomen, as well as the back, wings and tail. The Curly Breasted was Standardized in the U.K. as “Frizzle”  in 1982 and the Smooth Breasted in 1997.

Sebastopol

Shetland

This is a small, hardy auto-sexing breed from Britain’s most northerly isles. The breed is a very old breed and was used locally by crofters to reduce the burden of liver fluke that was rife in the wet, marshy land, liver fluke being the enemy of livestock, especially sheep. The geese lay a clutch of eggs before sitting, laying up to 20 when managed well and they make a meaty carcase.

Shetland

Steinbacher

Often known as a fighting goose, the Steinbacher is probably no more aggressive than any other breed, especially in the breeding season, when all ganders will protect their group. They come from the local geese of Thuringia crossed with Chinese at the end of the 19th century, and developed into a distinct breed described in “Thuringer Geflugelzuchter”, which was standardized in Germany in 1932, but it did not appear in the British Poultry Standards until 1997. It has rapidly grown in popularity in the U.K. due to the blue and lavender colour varieties, which are found in this country. In Europe it is available in grey, blue, lavender cream and buff varieties.

Steinbacher