Friday, July 10, 2009

Blue and Steinbacher Geese

The Blue Goose is a striking light blue color, as these Lavender and Blue birds from Holderread Waterfowl Farm & Preservation Center in Corvallis, Oregon. Dave Holderread has kindly given me permission to use these copyright photos. It is similar to the Gray in size, type and pattern. This goose has never been common but there have been fixed strains. Blue individuals appear in flocks of Gray and Pomeranian geese occasionally. This is arguably the most attractive domestic goose. American Blues have appeared in both the Pomeranian and general Gray populations. This goose deserves to be preserved because of its beauty. American populations may be in part descended from the German Steinbacher, a small fighting goose (geese as well as chickens were once bred for sport) and the only established breed that is routinely this color. This Steinbacher goose sets protectively on her nest in Michigan. The Krebs family imported some from Germany and have successfully bred them here, making a few available to other breeders. Mrs. Krebs took these photos of her birds. Steinbachers have a long history but were not standardized until the early 20th century, after goose fighting was outlawed in Germany.

This goose made her nest from hay, straw and the down she plucked form her own breast. Geese and swans pluck a bare spot to incubate their eggs, other wise their feathers would effectively prevent enoguh warmth from getting to the eggs.

The Steinbacher’s fighting background may make keeping ganders in a flock with others a problem during the breeding season. With people, they are confident and affectionate birds that will defend themselves and their families if provoked.

This gander is very upset at Mrs. Krebs being near the nest.he is trying to attack and bite me "Let me tell you, if they get you, they are like little pitbulls, they bite hard and don't let go," she says. "Even through jeans they can give you a nice bruise and even sometimes break the skin. The goose is making a racket in the background. During laying and nesting time, it is best to leave them alone as much as possible. When you do enter the stall for feeding, don't make eye contact and proceed quickly. Don't turn your back to the gander."

This is not meant to frighten anyone about geese. It's desirable for them to protect their nests. Knowledge of good handling to accommodate their behavior is rewarded by the joy of having such beautiful and interesting birds live with us.


Amri said...

They're beautiful!

mclocksley said...

Beautiful geese! Do you know if there are any Steinbachers in Canada or Frankonian Geese (they come in Light Blue, Blue Necked, Buff and Dark Blue) in North America? How common are Steinbachers in the U.S. now?

PoultryBookstore said...

Steinbachers remain very rare in North America. Bernd Krebs imported some to Michigan a few years back and is making them available as he can. Contact him at