Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Roman Geese

Roman Goose

Small chunky white geese with a short neck that carry a large amount of meat on them mainly to the breast and legs. Slightly heavier than Czech Geese and  Diepholtz Geese who have similar ancestry . They are said to have come from selected strains of Italian geese created as far back as 350BC during Roman times. They were imported into the UK during the early 1900’s and entered the British Poultry Standard in 1954. They have light blue eyes and orange to pink bill and webs  feet. Some Roman Geese are tufted dating from their main import in 1924 both  tufted and non-tufted can be shown in the UK

Uses: Utility – good meat to bone ratio. Eggs: 40 to 60 white eggs per year.
Italy / Germany / Poland.
Weight: Gander: 5.4 – 6.3 Kg. Goose: 4.5 – 5.4 Kg.
Colours: White.
Breed tip: Occasionally, the odd grey patch can appear in offspring. This is a fault, although light grey feathers on the back and rump in first year females will fade and is permitted. They like all goose breeds respond to being talked to and if  for breeding the better they are handled  and more they are spoken to the better they breed as calmer. Will react if startled so speak before creeping up on them and you will not be nipped. Make sure if buying them as adults that they are well handled etc and if possible buy from a breeder and see the parents . Remember 20 years is common if not fed to foxes.

side View

pic below from http://eng.agraria.org/poultry/romagnola.htm ie Roman Goose in Italy

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.

1954 image from Uk Standards with additions from the Italian see http://www.fiav.info/html/5cts/cts014_001.html

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 / bodyline

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.