The goose that said boo
THE plump, pure-white Roman goose, which legendarily saved the empire from marauding Gauls by honking loudly to warn soldiers, has now been added to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s 2017 Watchlist as a priority breed that is now endangered and warrants support and monitoring.
The chunky, short-necked ancient goose, which sometimes has a tufty crest, used to be in demand as a table bird for the Michaelmas market because it carries a large amount of meat.
It was hailed by distinguished 20th-century poultrymen as a good layer, hardy and easy to keep, yet numbers have become worryingly low, with just 50–70 breeding females remaining.
All 10 native geese are categorised as priority breeds and the Harvey speckled turkey and Derbyshire redcap chicken have also been highlighted this year (www.rbst.org.uk). KG