Toulouse Goose – Breed Profile & Facts
When it comes to geese, the Toulouse Goose is one of the heaviest domesticated goose breeds that has been traditionally raised for its oversized liver, making it the perfect choice for foie gras.
Even today, it’s a popular breed for their gentle temperament, egg, and meat production, as well as their hardiness.
If you’re not familiar with the Toulouse Goose, you can read the in-depth breed profile below to find out if this goose breed is suitable for your needs.
What is a Toulouse Goose?
Bred as a general-purpose goose, this breed originates from the Toulouse region of south-western France.
There are two types of geese recognized under the ‘Toulouse’ name – the Production types and the Dewlap type.
Of the two types, the Production type is smaller and more often chosen to be raised by small farms and homesteads. They’re moderate egg-layers and are otherwise good as a choice of table meat.
The Dewlap type is a massive goose with a heavy, folded dewlap hanging from the lower bill and upper neck. This dewlap grows larger as the goose ages. They’re suitable for both egg and meat production.
Toulouse Goose Characteristics
Going over the characteristics of the Toulouse goose can help you get a better idea of what to expect from this breed in terms of temperament, egg and meat production, but also matters of size and lifespan.
– Size & Weight
As one of the largest domesticated geese, the Toulouse goose can reach a weight of 18-20 lbs (8-9 kg) in the case of the Production variety, and around 20-26 lbs (9-11 kg) in the case of the Dewlap variety.
The color of their plumage can be gray with white, gray or buff. They’re slow with a wide waddle. The bill and legs are orange.
The plumage on the Dewlap variety grows a bit looser than on the Production variety and because of this, the Dewlap variety may appear even more gigantic than it actually is.
Besides being a great all-purpose goose, the Toulouse goose also has a great temperament. For starters, this is a relaxed goose with a gentle temperament.
Its slow pace is also telling of its relaxed and docile nature. The Toulouse goose gets along with other poultry, so you can keep it together with chickens, ducks, and even turkeys on a small homestead.
They’re also not as territorial as other geese and will be mild toward children. The only time when this breed may showcase some aggressive tendencies is during the breeding season.
But even then, this is normal behavior for any breed of geese.
They’re also a quiet breed that doesn’t get as easily excited as other goose breeds. They like to mind their own business and appreciate being left alone.
Toulouse goose can have a lifespan of as many as 20-22 years, but the average lifespan is around 10 years.
Many factors can influence the lifespan of a goose from genetics to diet. If you want your geese to live long, you need to understand its keeping requirements, dietary needs, and you need to monitor its health.
Lifespan can be shortened greatly if you’re not meeting their requirements or if you’re leaving medical problems unaddressed.
Regular vaccination and deworming are also needed to keep your Toulouse goose healthy.
– Egg Production
The Toulouse goose is not a prolific egg-layer, but they’re decent enough, producing around 25-35 eggs a season.
This isn’t that much compared to the African and Chinese geese, which can lay as many as 50 eggs per season.
Still, even with 25-35 eggs per year, the Toulouse goose is mentioned among the best egg-laying geese.
Keep in mind that even the best egg-layer geese produce eggs only from May to September.
– Meat Production
The Toulouse goose is often used in meat production due to its heavy size. It’s also a prime choice for foie gras production due to its oversized liver.
In the past, Dewlap Toulouse geese were also raised for their fat. Farmers used to limit their movement by keeping them in cages with not much room for exercise and offering them plenty of food to make sure the geese were putting on fat.
Today, farmers will mostly fatten up this breed for foie gras production or raise them on pasture when the goal is roasting meat production.
Because they grow large and heavy, in the first couple of months of their lives, Dewlap Toulouse geese need unlimited access to food enriched with calcium to support their healthy development.
Toulouse Goose Care
Toulouse geese are grazers and benefit from free range time. They’re also waterfowl and do best when offered access to a pond. Below, I go into more detail about the care requirements of this bird.
– Feeding & Nutrition
Toulouse geese are happy to forage for tender weeds and grasses. Short and tender grasses are best.
Besides, grazing, the diet of Toulouse geese is supplemented with grains, waterfowl pellets, and other similar concentrated feed.
This will ensure that they gain weight and reach their expected size, especially when raised for their liver or meat.
Geese also need insoluble poultry grit or sand to grind down their food. If you have sandy soil, you don’t need to provide additional sand.
The good news about keeping geese is that they don’t need expensive accommodation. What they do need, however, is protection against predators such as foxes and badgers.
For best results, choose a reasonably sized coop or shed to protect against frost during winter. A cover to protect against rain or strong sunlight is also recommended.
Free range time is also needed. Geese enjoy grazing on delicate weeds and grasses. Aim for a quarter of an acre of grass per pair of geese to meet their grazing needs.
For large areas, secure poultry fencing is something worth considering to keep your flock safe from predators that might climb over or under a fence.
– Health Problems
Regardless of your reasons to raise geese, monitoring for health problems and preventing health issues is essential.
Vaccinate your geese and deworm them regularly as part of preventative health measures. Check for scrapes and cuts, where flies can lay their eggs, causing flystrike, which is painful and often fatal.
Another issue is wet feather disease, which is caused by an inadequately functioning preen gland, which can no longer produce oil to protect the feathers of the goose against water.
If kept correctly, geese rarely fall ill, and very rarely require medication, especially if you’re already keeping an eye out on all the usual things that might affect these birds.
How Much Does Toulouse Goose Cost?
The price for a Toulouse goose varies based on the gender of the goose and the number of geese you wish to buy. Females are usually more expensive than males, while unsexed geese are the cheapest.
Prices can start somewhere at $30 for a female and $16 for a male and go as high as $45 for a female and $24 for a male.
Is Toulouse Goose Good for Beginners?
The Toulouse Goose is one of the best breeds for beginners. They’re docile and even tempered, they’re easy to take care of and don’t need too much attention.
Toulouse geese are not as noisy as other breeds, which is another plus if you have neighbors that would not appreciate the noise.
They’re happy to graze in their allotted space or swim and bathe in a pond or pool. As waterfowl, geese need either a small pond, a pool, or at the very least a shallow tub to bathe in.
Access to water will also help prevent mites, ticks, and other such parasites that can cause diseases and discomfort.
Is Toulouse Goose Hardy?
Toulouse geese are a hardy breed, known to withstand cold winters and hot summers. But even so, protection against frost during winter and shade in summer are needed.
This breed is also healthy with very little health concerns, especially when properly cared for.
But just because this breed is hardy, you still have to make sure that your goose is vaccinated against the viruses affecting poultries. Deworming is another important tool to keep these birds healthy.
Combined with an optimal diet and suitable accommodation, these geese can live problem-free for as many as 20 years.
Can Toulouse Goose Fly?
Yes, Toulouse goose can fly and will sometimes take flight. But due to their heavy size, they will not manage to fly very far or very high.
Domesticated goose breeds don’t usually fly or when they do, it’s only the younger birds or lighter ones that do.
So, younger Toulouse geese can take flight, especially when they’re not comfortable in their surroundings. The same cannot be said about overweight geese, whose flying ability is severely limited.
Just by looking at the slow movement of these geese, it’s understandable how their flying ability is not good.
Tips on Keeping Toulouse Goose
Just because the Toulouse goose is hardy, docile, and otherwise an easy breed to raise, it doesn’t mean you should neglect it.
Here’s a summary of the main things you need to cover for your Toulouse geese to be happy:
- Setting up a secure enclosure to protect them from predators.
- Make sure to provide free range grazing time.
- Offer protection from frost, hot weather, rain, and mud. They need a dry shelter to properly preen themselves.
- Provide a pool, pond, or tubs with water.
- Vaccinate your geese and deworm them regularly.
- Calcium enriched feed is needed during the first three months of life to ensure the healthy development of these birds.
These are the basics of caring for Toulouse geese. Regardless of your goal in raising them – for meat, eggs, or as pets – it’s good to meet these requirements.
A heavy and tall breed, the Toulouse goose is a popular breed raised on farms, homesteads, and orchards.
These birds have been traditionally raised for their meat and large livers but are decent egg-layers too.
They’re not overly territorial, especially towards other poultry, but will not easily tolerate other goose breeds.
Toulouse geese are an overall healthy breed, much less noisy than other goose breeds, and have a docile temperament. This makes them great pets for those who like geese but could do without the snappy temperament and loud nature.