Sebastopol

History

It is the place of origin that gives this goose its name as it originated in the drainage basin of the Danube and Black Sea area. It is also less frequently known as Danubian. Shortly after the Crimean War in 1859, the Sebastapol arrived in the UK and they were exhibited in 1860 at the Crystal Palace Poultry Show. It is the soft curly feathers that make this such a distinctive breed and when the breed was recognised in the USA in 1938, these unusual feathers were much in demand for feather products. In the 1966 British Waterfowl Association year book carried an advert for 'Ornamental Domestic Geese: Original Curly and Sebastapol – Appleyard's Long Feathered which shows the famous poultry breeder's interest in the bird. It was also referred to (not unkindly) as the 'Pantomime Goose'.

Behaviour

Despite their fairy tale appearance they are a very practical breed laying up to 35 eggs a year and do make a good table bird. They can become quite tame if well handled. They are good parents and will raise their own goslings. They love to forage but due to the extreme nature of the feathers especially in the curled-feather, it needs to be clean grass as it is very hard for them to get the mud out of their feathers. This is also a problem if it is muddy when the gander treads (mates with) the female. They need plenty of water so they can keep their magnificent plumage in good order. Also watch out for fly strike as they are loose feathered – particularly around the vent (bottom area).

Appearance
The colours in the UK that are standardised are white and buff but the white is more commonly seen. There are also two feather types, the smooth-breasted and the trailing frizzle or curled-feather. In the frizzle the only smooth feathers are those on the head and neck whilst all the rest of the bird's feathers are curled. The feather itself has a flexible spine which allows the feather to curl back and of course prevents flying. In the smooth-breasted the head, neck, breast, belly and paunch are smooth while on the back the long feathers curl and spiral down often to the ground.

This is a light breed.

There are several breeders that promote this striking breed. It is hard to confuse this distinctive breed with any other goose breed but do check the breed characteristics and decide which of the two types you are buying. The Buff is more difficult to source.

Status

Common

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