The Roman Goose is breed of Italian based small domestic goose. It
is said to be one of the oldest breeds of Goose, bred more than 2000
years ago and originally sacred to the Goddess Juno. This is
actually a nice tale but originates from the 1924 World Poultry
exhibition part of the World's fair in Barcelona where
the geese were taken as Italy's official breed being known then as
Oca Italiano / Oca Romagna etc When American and British buyers
enquired if they were the original Roman Guard dog geese the clever
Italians agreed hence the confusion when digging into their history
( source John Savorelli ) They came over here and were kept
for a range of purposes depending on location. In Europe it is kept
as a utility meat breed, while in Australia is a mix of the two.
Crests are optional in Europe and Australia
1873 Lewis Wright ‘has them as ….. a variety …. highly recommended
about 10 year ago under the name of Italian geese. It has been
stated to be unusually prolific, laying 50 to 60 eggs in one laying
and sometimes a second. Mr Tegetmeier describes them as mainly
white, with a blue-grey head, a grey roundish spot between the
shoulders, and grey thighs. But a great many we have heard of
have not come up to that standard, and have been decidedly small.’
The Roman goose was imported from Italy to the UK in around
1903 although odd birds were mentioned prior to this date. Early
birds often appeared with grey markings on their backs and a few
will throw this defect today. They are very small compact chubby
little birds with no keel.
It is a popular exhibition breed in North America. In America
this breed is often found with a small feather crest and many have
crests. Recognized in America as a breed much later, in 1977, and
called "Roman Tufted Goose" (Goose Roman Ciuffata), because
the American selection requires a small spherical tuft on the nape.
They have maintained a feature already present in some subjects
directly imported from Italy in 1924 . In the book "Goose and Duck
Breeding" by Dr. Gian Carla Wells, published in 1959, it is
written: "The head is fine and sometimes adorned, at the top, with a
clump, never very fully developed."
They have become more poular in the USA / Europe as the basis for a
small chubby eating goose having a good meat / bone ratio and being
prolific breeders. They produce a carcase more suitable to smaller
families and a suitable meat for Kosher and other specialist diets.
Their distinctive feature is their short neck and shorter back /
1930’s Reginald Appleyard , in his goose book written in
the early 1930s, also extolled their virtues. His birds laid 45-65
eggs in a season. The birds were very hardy and he recommended them
as a useful bird for anyone with a small paddock. The birds were
pure white, with orange-pink bill, legs and feet, just like the
Standard description today.