Pilgrim Geese are relatively quiet, light weight geese that are one of only two auto-sexing breeds of geese standardized in the UK. On hatching, males are yellow and silver-grey with orange bills, females are olive-grey with dark brown bills. As goslings grow, it is easy to tell the difference between them by the color of their down. Female goslings also have darker bills than the males. By 4 weeks old the males are clearly white with white feathers coming through and the females are grey. The eyes of mature birds are blue in the male and brown in the female (unlike the female West of England, the other auto-sexing breed, that are blue). Adult ganders are almost pure white with a little grey feathering on their wings, backs and tail feathers. Geese are a light grey color.
It is believed by many that Pilgrim Geese originated in England and were exported to America amongst other places. It was the development during the 1930’s by Oscar Grow in America that is well documented and gave the Pilgrim Goose it’s name.
Pilgrim Geese are relatively fast to grow and where Pilgrim Geese are used commercially for meat (mainly in the US) it is said that they look similar to exhibition strains.
The Pilgrim Goose was standardized in the UK in 1982.
Uses: Utility – meat, relatively fast growing. Eggs: 20 to 40 white eggs per year.
Weight: Gander: 12-16 lbs. Goose: 11-14 lbs.
Colors: Ganders: White, a little grey. Geese: Light Grey.
Useful to Know: Most Pilgrim Geese are very tame if hand reared and have good parenting qualities. For breeding, birds should be selected for correct auto-sexing and the gentle nature that they are known for. The ganders are charming and attentive to their geese. During the breeding season in spring to early summer they can demonstrate particularly protective behavior. This is really a lot of bluff that ceases when he moults.
The ancestors of the domestic goose are derived from two distinct wild species. Western (European) breeds have been developed from the greylag, and Asiatic breeds such as the African and Chinese from the swan goose. Despite their separate origin, the Asiatics and greylag types do inter-breed.