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Pilgrim Geese

Country of Origin: United States
Primary Use: Triple Purpose
​Bird Size: 13-14, medium weight class
Egg Production: Good, 35-46 eggs seasonal layers
Egg Size: X-Large
Egg Color: White
Comb Type: Single Comb
​Hardiness: Very hardy. Extremely cold tolerant
​Temperament: friendly like human interaction
Livestock Conservancy Priority: Threatened 

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pilgrim-geese
SKU: pilgrim-geese Category: Product ID: 2230

The Pilgrim goose is known for being calm and personable. It is one of two American goose breeds that are auto-sexing. Pilgrims are medium-sized geese, weighing 13 – 14 pounds at maturity, and roughly lay 35-45  white eggs annually. Pilgrims are rugged, quiet, docile, good foragers, excellent natural parents and make good medium-sized roasting birds. For those seeking a medium-weight goose, Pilgrims are an excellent choice for the home goose flock.

About Geese

Geese are herbivores. Apart from nibbling on an occasional meal worm, their diets consist of fresh grass and other greenery, plus a balanced feed. They are always chatting with us here on the farm. We consider them very friendly for geese. They are alert and make good watchdogs, we find the Ganders to be better watchdogs. Ours are protective of their duck groups and their young, always in groups with one goose looking around for any danger. They wont go in at night till all ducks are “in bed” an like to make sure the farm is ok. Many people use geese as guardians of their yard, farm, or homestead. They are a great alternative to a dog. However, keep in mind geese can be  susceptible to predation so keep this in mind with your housing and run designs. Our geese here on the farm are all Non-GMO!

More cool things about geese are they are used successfully to control grasses and some leaves, they are great foragers. Geese are excellent weeders and during the early days of commercial agriculture goose farmers would supplement their income by renting flocks out to cotton farms for a chemical-free weeding solution! Think about using them for your grass as a mowing solution, plus their droppings enrich your soil.

When it comes to choosing a breed, pick what you’re most attracted to all 3 we have are really about the same in temperament, care, and size. On our farm we’ve found that in most cases personality and temperament depend more on the individual bird and its environment than on the breed. To reduce the likelihood of aggressive behavior, we work calmly around geese of all ages and never feed them from the hand after they are a couple weeks of age. You want to build a relationship built on respect.  If using for guardians the respect is important. They are social birds, geese are some of the only domesticated fowl that imprint on humans. They will bond with the person who feeds them as a gosling, and remain dedicated to that person as their surrogate “parent” throughout their lives. Geese lay roughly 20-35 eggs a year, so not prolific layers. Hatching eggs are difficult and hatch rates are low the first years of their lives. They can live up to 20 years!

Feed recommendations: we recommend starting with our baby feed for the first 3 weeks, then duck and gosling grower till laying age. At laying age you can feed them an adult feed which we carry here. Fresh clean water needs to be available, grit to break down the feed and Oregano Oil in the water daily to help with gut health. Geese can start to get grass at 2 weeks with some other veggies (only very little).

History

It is difficult to tease the facts from the romance in the origin of the Pilgrim goose. Popularly thought to have come to America with the pilgrims, the Pilgrim goose, as we know it, is a recently developed breed. The sex of both goslings and mature Pilgrim geese can be distinguished by the color. This is known as auto-sexing. Poultry scientist Robert O. Hawes has found numerous references to auto-sexing geese in colonial America, western England and Normandy, France, but the breed was never referred to by a name. According to some authorities, the Pilgrim goose is related to the now rare West of England goose, another auto-sexing breed, which could possibly have arrived with early colonists. Dave Holderread, an experienced waterfowl breeder and an author on waterfowl husbandry and conservation, concludes that small populations of auto-sexing geese likely existed in a number of locations. He states that “studies on the inheritance of plumage color and patterns in domestic geese have shown that when gray-colored geese and white geese of European descent are crossed, their offspring, when intermated, will produce some progeny that carry auto-sexing plumage color similar to that seen in Pilgrims,” (Holderread, 1986). But Oscar Grow, a leading authority on waterfowl in the 1900s, claims to have developed the breed in Iowa, and that his wife named them in memory of their relocation – or pilgrimage – to Missouri during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Authorities agree that the breed was first documented by the name “Pilgrim” in 1935, corresponding with the Grow family’s pilgrimage. Wow, so lots of conflicting information on the origination of this breed!

Pre-ordered adults and hatchlings may be picked up by appointment. To safeguard our birds from exposure to disease brought in by visitors, in accordance with the provisions of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, areas where birds are kept are off limits. However you are welcome to look at all the breeds and interactions, it is a site to see.

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