The Embden Goose
The Embden Goose (Painted paper and gold leaf on panel 30 x 24 ©2016 Alyson Champ)
The origins of this breed are not known for certain. Embden Geese are thought to have originated in the North Sea region of Europe, in either the Netherlands or Germany, where large white geese have been bred since the 13th century.
The Embden goose is an elegant bird with its pure white feathers, orange feet and beak, and eyes of the clearest blue. It is also one of the largest breeds of domestic geese, prized for its ability to fatten quickly on pasture. The Embden was first exported to North America in the early 19th Century.
Exhibition of my work at Rare Breeds Canada’s Rare Breeds Renaissance, Canning, Nova Scotia.
In addition to their usefulness as birds for the table, Embden geese have been employed as ‘weeders’ for food crops such as potatoes and strawberries. Geese are herbivores by nature and prefer eating grasses rather than broad-leafed plants. Weeder Geese were very popular as recently as the 1950’s and 1960’s, but their usefulness was rendered obsolete as herbicides became more effective and their use more widespread.
The Rare Breeds Canada Conservation List designates the Embden’s status in Canada as vulnerable. (Sources: Wikipedia and FAO Animal Production and Health Paper 2002)
The artist with her goose, Flora.