The goose that said boo

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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

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