Some people seem to believe that the Pilgrim Goose is one of the original goose breeds in the United States, brought over by the settlers. You would think that is the case from the name. However, it isn’t. The Pilgrim Goose is a breed that is actually far more recent than this.
In fact, it likely didn’t appear until the early 1900s. Let’s take a little look shall, we?
The Origins of the Pilgrim Goose
The Pilgrim Goose was developed by Oscar Grow sometime in the early 1900s. It was developed to be an auto-sexing breed, and several birds from England and France were used in the development of the breed.
There are interesting stories how the Pilgrim Goose managed to get its name. It doesn’t seem to be linked to the Pilgrims at all.
According to one theory that we want to believe in , it was Mrs. Grow that came up with the name Pilgrim in memory of her ancestor’s personal pilgrimage to Missouri during the Great Depression.
On the other hand, according to some geese enthusiasts, there is some evidence that the Pilgrims had their own auto-sexing breeds, so this breed may be named to pay tribute to that. Who knows? It is unlikely to be something we will ever know the ‘true story’ about.
It took almost 30-years for the Pilgrim Goose to be officially recognized as a goose breed. It wasn’t until 1939 that the breed standard was defined.
The Look of the Pilgrim Geese
These geese weigh a maximum of about 15 lbs.
The unique thing about this goose is that both the geese and the ganders are different colors. This is incredibly rare.
The gander is always going to be a purely white goose.
There will not be any deviation in the colors. The female version, on the other hand, is going to be a sort of gray color, with a small amount of white there, but it does look like a grey goose.
Obviously, the fact that this breed auto-sexes means that it does make it a lot more viable for use as a commercial breed of goose.
Although, to be honest, most people will be raising these birds to full maturity anyway, the same with most goose breeds. After all, full maturity means that you have decent meat and egg birds.
It is perhaps, worth noting that the Pilgrim Goose is the only auto-sexing goose recognized by the American Poultry Association.
When the Pilgrim Goose hatches, their colors will be slightly different. While the feathering will have different colors, perhaps the best way to tell them apart is that the males will have an orange bill, whereas the females will have a brown bill.
Remember; these are autosexing geese, not sex-linked. This means that this is something that is always going to be happening. You do not have to be breeding in unique ways to end up with this trait. You just breed the goose as you would normally breed a goose.
As a Show Goose
We cannot find that much evidence in the way of regular shows for the Pilgrim Goose. This is purely meant to be a functional breed. Now, of course, there will be goose shows for this breed at some point.
However, if you are raising the Pilgrim Goose with the intention of showing it off to the world, then this probably isn’t going to be the right goose for you.
Of course, the fact that both the males and females have a slightly different look is a brilliant thing. It helps to create a decent ornamental flock with a dose of color thrown in for good measure.
As a result, there are a lot of people that will raise the Pilgrim Goose with the intention of having an ornamental goose that just so happens to be productive at the same time.
The Pilgrim Goose Eggs
The Pilgrim Goose will lay around 20-50 eggs each year. Of course, this will happen for a few months only. Most of the months of the year are going to be fairly quiet for this goose on the egg-laying front.
This is the same for all geese. You will not find a goose that is able to lay eggs throughout the entirety of the year.
Now, of course, the eggs can be eaten. There are some people that will eat the eggs. However, because geese do not ever lay that much in the way of eggs, we can assume that most people will want the egg production for breeding purposes.
A lot of people have reported that the Pilgrim Goose does suffer from a few fertility issues. However, this only seems to be limited to certain strains of goose.
If you are purchasing breeding stock from a reputable breeder, then you should be fine. Obviously, there will still be some eggs that will not grow properly, but that is always going to be the case when you are raising any type of bird.
The Pilgrim Goose for Meat Production
While this bird is a little bit on the smaller side of things, there are a lot of people out there that will raise the Pilgrim Goose for meat purposes. Although, it is not a breed that grows particularly fast.
That being said, a lot of people use this goose purely for eating eggs. The Pilgrim goose lifespan is around 20-25 years without any issues. So, unlike other meat birds, it doesn’t really grow so fast that there will be health issues if you do not slaughter it.
Pilgrim Goose Temperament
This Pilgrim Goose is known for being particularly friendly, and that makes it a fantastic bird for families, or perhaps people that have never raised geese before.
If you live in a more populated area, then you will likely love the fact that this goose is fairly quiet. Now, obviously, when it does honk it is going to be loud.
We probably wouldn’t suggest you raise a goose in a densely populated area. However, for the most part, the goose is not going to be honking as much as other birds. It is much calmer.