British Waterfowl Association

Pilgrim Goose

Pilgrim Geese — Carl Donner

Light breed

Domesticated Greylag Goose Anser anser

The Pilgrim Goose was developed and standardized in the USA by Oscar Grow. He recognized the sex-linked colour of the breed, which can be seen even in the down colour and bill colour of the goslings on hatching. He did stress, however, that although most of the birds breed true to colour, there can sometimes be white females. It is difficult to get a 100% pure-breeding strain.

Ganders are white with some light grey allowed in the plumage on the rump and secondary feathers. Geese are light grey, and have white feathers at the front of the head, the white extending around the eyes with age.

The commercial attraction and utility of these geese lies primarily in their sex-linked colour, which may easily be lost with cross-breeding.

four young Pilgrim geese being carried in a tote
Pilgrim Geese, three ganders and a goose — Julian Burrell

Weights vary from 6.5-8 kg in the gander and 5.5-7.5 kg in the goose. The females are average layers, often laying two clutches, like the Brecon, of about 30 eggs in total. Pilgrims are renowned for their sweet nature, which applies if they have been handled as young goslings.