We are huge fans of autosexing breeds, so we had to have Pilgrim geese! Listed as Threatened by the Livestock Conservancy, this heritage breed was created right here in the Midwest, and we LOVE them – if we had to dramatically narrow down our bird breeds, we would just keep our Pilgrims and our beloved Buckeye Chickens. Pilgrims are known for being quiet (compared to other geese) and docile. During their short breeding season, we have exhibition-potential hatching eggs, goslings, dames, and ganders available for sale.
This breed is autosexing, meaning that you can tell gender at hatch with 75-90% accuracy. Females have grayish/olive greenish down and dark gray bills, while males are more yellow in their down and orangish in their bills.
We currently have two trios in our flock: the first came from a 50+ year old flock and another amazing local breeder, Fun-E Farm; and the second is directly from APA Grand Master Exhibitor Laura Kershaw. We are considering building a third group using offspring from the other two.
As far as flaws go, the biggest is that we’ve had one non-autosexing gosling. S/he had blue eyes and white base feathering, but was sprinkled evenly with gray feather tips and acted more like a female. S/he was truly gorgeous and we were sorry to send her/him off to a pet home.
Pilgrims are VERY broody and can hatch their eggs much better than any incubator would. One downside of the breed, though, is that fertility is pretty low, averaging around 75-85%.
Pilgrim Geese much prefer to free range and keep our grass pastures trimmed, but they do tolerate confinement.
Pilgrims are known for being one of the sweetest and most curious goose breeds, and we love them! During mating season about February through June, they can get hissy, but otherwise, they nosily follow us around everywhere.