Category: Science > Agriculture and Farming
Asked by: roypeacock-ga
List Price: $2.00
27 Apr 2003 11:45 PDT
Expires: 27 May 2003 11:45 PDT
Question ID: 196181
My wife insists that many years ago geese were herded to market after their feet had been tarred. Possibly as far as from Devon to London. Rubbish I say. Can you adjudicate with authority!
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 27 Apr 2003 12:29 PDT
Hello there Your wife is right. Geese had their feet dipped in hot tar and dusted with sand to protect them during the 'drive.' Turkeys were fitted with little leather boots to protect them from the same cobbles on the road. So the geese had it the worse of the two, I'm afraid. Here is a quote from a website about the bearded collie: "These collies drove mixed flocks to market. Sheep and long horn cattle mingled with turkeys whose feet were clad in a curious leather turkey boots which buffered their feet from the vigours of the cobbled roads. Geese were perhaps less fortunate. These wretched birds always the worst treated of farmyard animals and birds had their feet dipped in hot tar and dusted with sharp sand to protect them from damage during the drive." http://www.petworld.cc/World_of_dogs/Country_side/Graham_Nicholson/graham_nicholson.html - a page from Petworld CC. Another reference to the practice may be found here: "The old drovers road to Abergwesyn starts at the Talbot Hotel. Before setting off on the long rough journey across the mountains the black cattle were shod with iron plates in a blacksmiths shop in a field behind the hotel. (One of a number of blacksmiths in Tregaron at this time). Pigs were fitted with woollen 'socks' with leather soles and geeses' feet were coated with tar and sand to prepare them for the journey." http://e-britain.co.uk/tregaron/ - Website of Tregaron, West Wales Tourist Information. From the Guardian: In the olden days, pigs were taken to market along English drove roads wearing woollen socks with leather soles to protect their trotters. Geese, on their way to Nottingham Goose Fair, were less elegantly shod: they were driven through a mixture of tar, sand and sawdust before they hit the road. http://shopping.guardian.co.uk/travel/story/0,1586,900512,00.html - The Guardian Search - Google Terms - tar goose feet, driving geese +to market If I may clarify anything before you rate the answer, please ask. Cheers - I wonder if I can find bronzed turkey booties anyplace? They would look great hanging from my driving mirror. digsalot
rated this answer:
and gave an additional tip of:
You realise of course, that you have just lost me a bet?! But I suppose I should know better than to argue with my 250 year old wife!. After that I can only afford a modest tip. Roy Peacock
From: leli-ga on 28 Apr 2003 00:00 PDT
Something I read last year explained that many of the geese eaten in London were born in the Fens, but even they didn't have to waddle as far to their deaths as French geese intended for Roman dinners: "....until the 18th century, wild greylags were resident in the great expanse of wetlands that spread more or less continuously through Norfolk to Cambridge and Lincolnshire. This was also a traditional goose-rearing area, and young wild geese were often caught and incorporated into the domestic flocks. The goose-man, or gozzard, plucked his birds five times a year, taking the main flight feathers on Lady Day, March 25, to supply an important market for goose-quill pens. At this time of year many goose farmers also fattened their flocks in readiness for the drive to London's Leadenhall market and the all-important Christmas trade. The birds' feet were dipped in tar and covered with sand to protect them on the 100-mile trek, which was completed at a brisk waddling pace of about a mile an hour. Yet the London drive was a modest affair compared with the epic performed by the domestic geese of ancient France, where the Gauls used to march them over the Alps to the markets in Roman Italy." Getting the bird Claxton Marsh, Norfolk Mark Cocker Monday October 28, 2002 The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/country/article/0,2763,820499,00.html
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