Pilgrim Geese : The Perfect Goose for a small farm

Pilgrim Geese! Why they are such an excellent choice for a small farm!

The Perfect Goose

I mean no disrespect to the other goose breeds
I actually love all geese for their beauty, ease of caring for the adults and hardiness of their goslings. 
Not to mention their ability to turn grass into delicious meat, golden fat, rich livers and the best-tasting eggs I've ever had!
Can't forget the down either! Best down on any bird is from the goose. You can even make money selling eggs that didn't hatch to an artist who makes Faberge' eggs and jewelry. 
I've never had a problem selling goslings, the eggs or the down from the geese. Nice little extra bit of money for the farm. They have earned more than chickens or ducks have for me. 
All geese excel slightly different in qualities but All geese are excellent multipurpose livestock! Important trait on a small farm. When you have a smaller farm like we do ( only 35 acres)
The Pilgrim goose is hard to beat and has a lot to offer! 
Here's what the Livestock Conservancy says about Pilgrim geese Heritage Goose, Pilgrim Geese

Comparing Goose Breeds I Choose to keep

A bit about Chinese Geese

I've had several different breeds of geese and crosses.
 I settled on keeping Chinese and raising pilgrim geese for different reasons. 
Before I get into pilgrims here's my experiences with the other breed I keep for some comparison...
I absolutely adore my Chinese geese but they are so loud!!! So very, very loud! I personally enjoy their constant chatter and arguments. Many people do not! They are truly excellent 'watch dogs' and scream so loud when they see Hawks.
Most geese make good alarm systems.
I love their slender, graceful appearance and the odd knobs on their beaks!
Most of all I love ALL the eggs they lay.
It's a shame that people in the USA have bred this bird to primary be a show exhibit and not a utility egg layer as it was developed to be. They are the heaviest laying goose in the states but breeding for the standard of perfection with no thought to egg production has meant their productivity isn't what it once was. 
Still, they do produce a lot of eggs. They do not go broody and can be aggressive toward other poultry and each other! They are kinda barnyard bullies..
They are never aggressive to me or other people though.
They aren't easily sexed unless you can vent sex them or wait until they start developing their knobs. They are worth keeping around and I enjoy them. Since I primarily want them for eggs, I don't plan to breed them every year. 
They are wonderful but I can see how they would not work for everyone.
They also need extra protection in the winter so their knobs won't get frost bite.

Pilgrim Geese!

Now, The Pilgrim goose. It is the calmest, quietest goose I've ever owned. It's a gorgeous breed and one of the very few goose breeds that can be sexed by color as soon as they are hatched. 
Which makes life very easy! 
Also, they do not fly.
Most domestic breeds don't but the other auto-sexing geese tend to fly better than Pilgrims. Not good here. I need my geese to stay inside fencing with their guard donkeys!
Geese need protection and can fall prey to coyotes, feral dogs, and other predators. 
I found LGD's to not be good guardians for them. Mostly because they ate the expensive goose eggs! But also because they stressed out the geese. Livestock Guardian Donkeys were a way better option for my flock. 

Pilgrim Geese! Why they are such an excellent choice for a small farm!

My main line of pilgrims lay almost as many eggs as a Chinese but because they do go broody they don't lay as long.
They do have larger eggs. Not all lines of pilgrim lay well. Many lines have been inbred severely and are loosing productively as well as the sex link coloring and fertility. Sourcing out good stock can be an issue with this rare goose. 
Once you find good breeding stock this bird is a treasure!
My biggest egg layers were from the Holderread. I don't think he breeds them anymore but he may know where you can find some of his lines Holderread Farm
I also highly recommend his books on Geese and Ducks! Holderread Books
Metzers has nice stock if you can not find a local breeder Metzers Pilgrim Geese

Pilgrim Geese! Why they are such an excellent choice for a small farm!

Feeding Pilgrim Geese and all geese!

If you have to buy all their feed they can be expensive to keep. Feeding geese are very economical if you have good pasture. They need little else! In the winter though feed costs do go up when the grass is gone. I was able to keep mine down really low with a few tricks.
You can read that post here Farm Tips to save on the feed bill!

Start a Comfrey bed! They love comfrey and its very good for them. I typically have comfrey available to supplement their feed longer than pasture grasses. Its also very good for goslings but you must chop it in tiny pieces. 

A few more Pilgrim Goose Facts

Pilgrim Geese! Why they are such an excellent choice for a small farm! Will they work for your farm? #pilgrimgeese #homesteader

They are medium-sized, nice tempered geese. They won't share a nest or feed bowl with the other poultry but they don't go out of their way to be mean either.
They only honk a little when they see me or if they get separated from each other.
They are protective of their nest and goslings but aren't near as aggressive as many breeds. So they are a great goose if you have small children because they do not attack unprovoked. They are excellent mothers and the ganders are good protectors of the goslings also. He will even stand guard in front of the goose nest while the geese are sitting. 
The Pilgrim goose to me is the perfect sized meat bird. Not to small not to big.
They never overeat if I have to feed pellets and if my pasture is good I do not need to feed extra. 
They don't need special shelters, a three-sided shed is fine for nest making out of the wind and weather. 
They are a very low maintenance breed if managed properly. 

Honestly,, Any goose is better than no goose at all!
If I had to choose just one goose breed it would more than likely be the Pilgrim.  
I've loved the other breeds and really like the Chinese because they are different and excel at egg laying. 
The pilgrim is the perfect package to me though... Very easy and a joy to keep. 

*all geese need protection from predators. I use livestock guard donkeys and nite guard. Never lost a bird.
To find out if a livestock guardian would work out for your farm do check out my ebook here 

Livestock Guardians for geese

Also, goslings are possibly the cutest baby poultry ever!
That's just a bonus 😉

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