Read that Pilgrim Geese are calm--worth noting in light of all the recent posts and grow fast---anyone have experience raising these? Are they good foragers? How do they compare with toulouse in regard to rate of growth and foraging ability?
Pilgrims are the supreme breed (IMO) We have a "large flock" I think last count there are 5 trios of breeders, 2 young hens, and 4 young ganders. 21 total! We don't feed them grain, if they get it, it is from the spillage produced by the other birds. They free range around our property and have access to the barn, pasture, lawn and pond. They do great, are decent meat birds (though we don't eat them) and they grow reasonably fast. Plus they are auto-sexing making it great for raising out extra males if you want some to butcher. I don't have a lot of time at the moment, but will check back later and comment more.
I have a mated pair that I just bought recently. They are great. Very self suffcient. They are not noisy at all, don't pester me like the Africans and cause no trouble. They won't go into the safe house at night but are still alive and well. I really like them!
I don't raise them, have Buffs but I know a lady who has them and they're just wonderful. Very friendly, calm and sweet natured. If I didn't have the Buffs I'd have Pilgrims but I like my Buffs too. It's funny to see those great big birds protecting the flock one minute and sitting in my six year old's lap and nuzzling with her the next.
The reason I chose to raise Pilgrims was they are gentle and quiet, a medium sized goose; non aggressive for sure. They are also one of the only breeds that can be sexed at birth for gender; males are yellow and females are gray. At around 6 months they are almost fully grown. A female will lay usually around 50 eggs per breeding season. They take care of themselves wonderfully. When they are goslings we feed them grass clippings and they grow so fat ! At feeding time they are noisy because they know mommy is going to feed them, otherwise I don't know they are in the yard. A truly wonderful breed if you have never raised geese before. Backyard Poultry features the Pilgrims on their cover this month, this will help you too. It has an article by Dr. Dennis Smith who has raised them for many years.
I enjoy my pilgrims but that is all I have and can not compare to another breed for you. Mine are docile but they can be noisy. Seems like the other posters don't have the noise I do. But I enjoy hearing them along with the quacks, gobbles and cluckings. They are self sufficient.