The Toulouse is a breed of domesticated goose originating near Toulouse, France. It is a large bird, with a weight of up to 9 kg, and is known for its ponderous appearance and large dewlaps. The original grey coloured breed is a very old one and the name has been recorded back as far as 1555. The breed was first brought to the United Kingdom by Lord Derby in 1840, who imported some of them to England, and from then onwards the French Toulouse were used as breeding stock with the consequence that by 1894, English breeders had produced a massive bird. The 'Toulouse' in France, although kept in greater numbers, have never quite equaled such weights.
The bird generally has a placid disposition, with the consequence that it doesn't thrive in flocks of mixed breeds. More aggressive geese will greatly distress the Toulouse, putting it off mating and sometimes resulting in its losing out at the feeding trough. These are very domesticated birds, easily bewildered by more active breeds. They do not need a pond. However, being waterfowl, they love bathing and playing in water and will also mate in water. They are not great wanderers, preferring to stay close to home, making them ideal for a large garden or orchard, where they will thrive. Interestingly, individual geese vary, and others thrive in mixed flocks and become severely aggressive, biting and hissing, while others are placid and prefer to follow around smaller ducks as opposed to other geese.
The Toulouse is the breed most used for the production of foie gras. The breed is a moderately good layer of eggs, producing as well as most other goose breeds. They rarely have problems producing fertile eggs, although problems can occur during severe weather in the winter and spring, as is the case with most breeds. An average Toulouse lays 20-40 eggs per year. These birds are generally not good sitters.
- Batty, Joseph (1996): Domesticated Ducks & Geese: Beech Publishing House. ISBN 1-85736-091-5
- Hugo, S. (undated). Geese: the underestimated species. FAO Agriculture Department.
- Toulouse Geese British Breed information and photos on poultrykeeper.com
- Toulouse Geese at feathersite.com
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- Toulouse Geese from The WeydeGansch Dewlap Toulouse Geese
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