Pilgrim Geese are medium sized and are the only sexed linked breed of geese. The ganders are white, with just a little gray hidden under their white cover feathers, and they have beautiful blue eyes. The females are mostly gray, with white on the faces. Pilgrim geese are very mild mannered, and not nearly as aggressive or noisy as many geese can be. They are very hardy, excellent foragers with excellent parenting instincts.

Brief History of Pilgrim Geese

Pilgrim geese are unique in that they are the only domestic breed of geese that is sexually dimorphic both as goslings and as adults. That is, in both young and mature Pilgrim geese, the two sexes have a distinct coloration and pattern that easily identities them. Adult ganders are mostly white with some gray on the rump and wings. Adult females are mostly gray with some white on their head and neck. The gosling males are silvery yellow with light beaks. The young females are olive gray with darker bills.

Although it is appealing to think that Pilgrim geese arrived on the Mayflower with our fore fathers, most waterfowl historians believe the Pilgrim originated in the US at a much later date. Studies on inheritance in plumage color of domestic geese have shown that when gray-colored geese are mated with white geese

some second generation offspring will show auto-sexing plumage similar to the Pilgrim geese (This inheritance behavior only applies to geese of European decent, Chinese or African species do not display this tendency).

Consequently, it seems feasible that the auto-sexing coloration pattern may have periodically appeared at various times and locations in the country when gray and white geese were allowed to inter-breed indiscriminately. Eventually, a selection effort was begun to standardize the birds in size, shape and plumage pattern.

Oscar Grow is credited with the doing the most to establish the breed, and his wife is credited with providing the moniker ‘Pilgrim’. The phrase, however, refers to her family’s personal pilgrimage across the state of Missouri and has no historical context.

Pilgrim geese are medium sized, and quite and docile. They are less aggressive than most other breeds of geese. They are very hardy, are very good foragers,they make excellent natural parents and will frequently hatch and raise their own young. Their auto-sexing characteristic make maintaining flock ratios easy even for the beginning breeder and the excess birds make excellent roasters. The Pilgrim could easily be the most practical goose for the family farm poultry flock.

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