Originating from the area of Thuringia (in former East Germany) there is evidence that geese were brought from Russia to the area prior to the Second World War. Goose fighting was a 'sport' in Eastern Europe and Russia up to the early 20th century when it was banned. In the famous Russian novel, 'The Master and Margarita published in the 1930s, one of the main characters Nikanor Ivanovitch exclaims “Ah if it wasn't for my geese!... I've got fighting geese in Lianozovo my dear fellow.....”
The Steinbacher is a descendant of the fighting goose and it is thought that as with the Russian fighting goose, there are signs of Chinese cross breeding. The western domesticated goose is always descended from the Greylag (Anser anser) while Chinese geese originate from the Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) and the resultant cross breeds are strikingly similar to the Steinbacher. It came to the UK via Thuringer in the 1980s. It is a striking bird for exhibition purposes with its tight blue-grey plumage and muscular body.
Despite the history of fighting, this goose has a surprisingly calm temperament, perhaps a result of many years of domestication and close living with man. In fact they have the reputation of being friendly towards people but quite sharp with each other. Watch out for ganders fighting during the breeding season! They can rear young but the goose can be rather a flighty broody and their laying ability is not good. It may be worth using an incubator unless particularly convinced that the goose will stay sitting.
As you would expect this is a proud breed, very strong and muscular and standing erect. It comes in two colours, Blue and Grey. The stocky legs are bright orange and the dark brown eyes have a narrow yellow ring around them. Despite the possibility of it being a cross bred there should be no sign of a knob – or a dew lap.
It is a light breed.
Although some exhibitors are very keen breeders, there are not that many of this breed to be found. It's worth sourcing some quality stock if you are intending to breed.
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