Toulouse Geese - Goose Breed
The Toulouse goose is a beautiful, heavy-set goose commonly found as farm pets, meat birds or show birds in Australia. They are not good foragers and do well in confined spaces. This makes them great backyard birds as well.
Toulouse geese originate from the city of Toulouse in France. In Germany they are known as "Toulouser Ganz” and in France the poetic "L'oie du Toulouse". This breed originated from the European Greylag Goose. They were specially bred due to the increase in demand for Pâté de foie gras, a delicacy derived from the livers of geese that have been fattened. The Toulouse is less suited as a meat bird than the Emden (or Emden cross Toulouse) as there is a lot more bone and the meat is more coarse. To improve the flesh in meat birds, a cross produces better flesh and the ganders grow a lot more rapidly than the standard Toulouse geese.
These are quite docile, placid birds so they make for good pets as well. They are easily upset by more aggressive birds and should have their own enclosures. They have a noticeable dewlap under the chin. When stressed they may stop mating, laying eggs and even lose their appetite. They lay around 30-35 eggs in a season. Some are good brooders but not all; this seems more related to the individual bird than the breed. They do not forage well, so a stable enclosure works great for them. They have a large, strong head with a short, strong bill. They have brown eyes, a long, thick neck and a lot of gullet. Their body is broad, deep and long with a breastbone that is quite prominent. The carriage is horizontal while the back is slightly curved. Their feet, legs and bills are orange. They also have orange around their eyes. The plumage colours tend to be a variety of grey shades. The feathers have white edging for a laced effect. The paunch, stern and tail is white.Some of the varieties include: Grey (the original colour), White and Buff. The plumage is soft and full.
They are not good fliers due to their size. They tend to require regular deworming. They are also susceptible to flystrike which can be hidden by the feathers, so regular checks are needed. They can become overweight quite easily but this shortens their lifespan. They are also at risk of chronic wet feather where the plumage doesn’t repel water properly and the feathers take a long time to dry. They should always have access to a dry shelter especially where there is prolonged rainfall. They also need to be able to bath and preen daily to spread their natural oils and waterproof their feathers. Female geese grow to around 9kg while ganders reach around 12kg on average.
Toulouse geese make good pets and are great as backyard birds as well as farm animals. They are docile and don’t tend to wander. They do better as meat birds if crossed with Emden geese. Keep them sheltered and well fed (but don’t overfeed) and they will make fun, curious pets for many years.