Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sebastopol Geese

Sebastopol Geese look like imaginary dream geese. Their long curling feathers may touch the ground. The first time I saw them at a show, I thought they must be some kind of strange modern development.

They aren’t. They are a historic breed, tracing their heritage back to the area around the Danube River and the Black Sea in Eastern Europe. They were selectively bred for their lovely feathers, so warm for quilts and clothing. Their soft feathers lack the barbules that make other feathers adhere. They fall between Silkie feathers and Frizzles. These geese are photographed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy,

They are medium sized, adults weighing 12 to 14 pounds. Their feathers do not permit them to fly, but they develop their breast, thighs and legs by running. They make good table birds, but their lovely feathers are so attractive that they are usually kept as ornamental birds. They are also known for their mild and pleasant disposition, highly desirable in geese.

White is the most common variety, although gray and buff are known. Back in 1905, when Harrison Weir edited The Poultry Book, grays were more common. He writes, “The white are those most fancied, and certainly on a lake or pond with varied verdant surroundings, and in the meadows or tangled bush environments, they thus present a most pleasurable appearance.”

Although geese don't necessarily need water, Sebastopols benefit from having water to bathe and keep their feathers clean. They will also appreciate more shelter in harsh weather than their cousins with harder feathers need.

A beautiful breed for a small flock, and you will be the envy of all who see them!

No comments: