trying to decide between American Buff and Pilgram Geese


In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 23, 2008
Ontario Canada
Ive been doing alot of reading and have come to a delema, im looking at geese for the purpose of meat production (for personal use not market supply) and have decided that eather the Pilgram or American Buff would suite us just fine. But I dont want to keep two breeds of geese so im having a hard time deciding which breed would be "better" lol

Anyone have any advice?
I would go with Embdens for meat production. Far more cost effective. Hatchery buffs will run you $11 and up per bird, and Pilgrims might be hard to find, and will most definately cost more than your general hatchery embden.
yah if I was going to buy goslings every year I would definatly agree with you, but im planning to keep my own breeder stock (hence why im thinking pilgram or buff since there suposedly alitle more easy to handle) Good advice though

Anyone else have any experience with such things?
I have a flock of Pilgrims and a flock of American Buffs. Both have spoiled me on geese, so it will be difficult for me to bother keeping less docile breeds around anymore.

Pilgrims are my favorite of the two. They're the hardest to locate and good quality are even more difficult to find. A lot of strains can't be sexed at birth as easily anymore - the males are a dull grey and the females are a duller grey instead of the clean yellow and dark grey they should be. Other flocks are complaining about fertility issues, more than likely due to a lack of new blood coming in. I've had a hell of a time acquiring my current flock, having driven across state lines more than once to buy a new gander or goose.

Still, I love having a lot of color in my flock and the Pilgrim offers that. It's like having two breeds of geese in one flock.

American Buffs are beautiful birds with docile personalities, too. They can be used to make great sex linked meat geese if you cross an American Buff gander with a Toulouse goose. The males will come out grey and the females a grey-buff (making it easy to tell them apart from the purebred Buffs in your flock).

American Buffs are easier to locate, but still have dangerously low numbers according to the ALBC. If you're wanting to raise meat geese and pick Buffs, I'd recommend trying an American Buff pair with a single Toulouse female: a trio of geese will provide you with more than enough meat in a single year. Any extra American Buff goslings can be sold to other breeders and extra female mixed breeds can be sold as a more easy going meat production strain to be crossed back to another meat breed (without sex linked offspring, of course).

That probably doesn't help much
. If you do decide on Pilgrims I have a waiting list for my eggs and goslings next year. I'm especially proud of my males: they have their gray saddles well concealed and their eyes are an amazing shade of crystal blue. I'll have to take a picture of one and show you.
I have a hard time understanding why people would want to eat their entire (small) flock of Pilgrim geese yearly when they are listed as endangered. I'm on a list for goslings next Spring and I'll be raising them as breeders for quite awhile.

I didn't know Buff's were also listed, Thank you for that info. I've got 4 Am Buff goslings which are 4 months old now and look like adults. I think I may have one gander, haven't vent sexed and prefer to watch and wait while enjoying their company. They'll be breeders w/my Embden goose and Toulouse? or Pilgrim? goose, which you say I should get goslings that are easily distinguished as male/female (gander/goose) and I LOVE that info!

Can't embden goose is laying an infertile egg every other day now, I've collected 6 eggs now:) My Am Buff gander (if I've really got one as I think) will be mature for breeding at about 2 years old according to one of our fellow members on this site;)

My plan was Pilgrim's for breeding and building a small flock but I started with two girls, different breeds by inheriting 7 year olds and becoming the 3rd owner;)

Going to winter over a total of six, and by 2010 they should begin producing fertile eggs while my 2009 Pilgrim goslings begin their first year of life...if all goes well!

(Pics are on computer at home and not updated on Photobucket yet)
Actually, one of the number one ways I've gotten people interested in raising Pilgrims is meat production. When a breed is given purpose it becomes more popular. Big white Embdens aren't a better goose than Pilgrims - they just have a commercial purpose. Same with Toulouse. When people find out that Pilgrims are more than just pets then it becomes a utility/production breed that pays for itself. You don't have to just find people looking for pet geese - you can also fill freezers - yours, your neighbors, etc.

I've been describing my Pilgrims as a quiet, docile goose you can sex at birth/adults that grows ten pounds in ten weeks: the all-around, all-purpose addition to your farm.

People are interested in becoming more self sufficient - adding goose ("mini beef") to their chickens has been really popular. I not only sold out of all of my extra Pilgrims this year, but I have a waiting list for them next year.

As for eggs, geese will begin laying a modest amount of eggs during their first year. The fertility isn't all that hot. By two years the fertility is better and they're laying more eggs. The best time to breed geese is between the ages of 3-5. After that I've heard of them laying until they are _20 years old_ and living well into their 30-50s.

Huzzah for raising Pilgrims. I hope all things go as planned for you. I plan on keeping back/swapping for a dozen or so more goslings next year. I figure if I keep 3-4 a month for the entire breeding season I can spoil them rotten while still building my flock. Especially since I have a designated baby box in my room to oogle everyone as they grow up
Thanks for all the added info on both breeds! My wife and I were talking about it alot more and we were leaning towards the Pilgrams as well so we will likely go with them. Unfortunatly we are in Canada so it wont be likely that we can get any offspring from anyone on here but who knows lol.

As for the meat issue, im new to poultry and rare breeds of poultry but my philosophy towards this stuff is basicaly this:

Rare breeds are rare because people have in the past stoped keeping them, and they are geneticaly less varried in most casses than "conventional" breeds. That being said most people agree that rare breeds need to be geneticaly preserved but they continue to manage them in a similar fassion to conventioal poultry. The way I figure it there is no way that anyone keeping rare poultry breeds can even think about keeping ratio's similar to production birds (1 drake to 7 hens) it would just bottleneck the geen pool to much. My personal way to deal with this is to forget about modern managment practices and go back to the way things were before modern agricultur where people kept lots of breeding stock and basicaly had as many birds as they coudl keep (keeping in mind that there are alot of issues with just having loads of birds and im not promoting that at all)

So when it comes to geese im very interested in the rare breeds and basicaly plan on keeping several pairs, letting them rais there own offspring (which will be less productive per pair but less work from a genetic stand point for me lol) I can still sell some bird but it wont be my focus.

I read alot that people dont like Canada Geese for meat production because they dont lay alot of eggs, (I know its not a rare breed but bare with me) but if you think about it, keep two or three pairs and let them rais there own offspring and you will have more meat than you know what to do with in the long run!

I know this wouldent work with everything (keeping a ratio of one rooster to one chicken would be hard) but with alot of birds I think it is what needs to be done.

Anyways thanks again for all the great info and hopfuly my two cents worth gives people food for thaught!
Even though you can keep medium sized ganders with 3-4 geese, I prefer pairs and the occasional trio with my Pilgrims just for that reason: it's going to give me a larger genetic pool to work with when I keep back or sell the offspring.

I also wholeheartedly agree with you about why rare breeds are rare. And when you give a breed a purpose it starts to become popular again. I can't think of a single reason for a small farm to not have at least a pair of Pilgrims on their property and plan on convincing as many people as possible of the same
It is nice to meet other people who see what im seeing (and im new to poultry) as far as sustainable food production, genetic variation and just general managment practices all come together and how they can be used to full advantage for a small farm, family or small local producer (this applies to both livestock and vegetables)

Im hoping to keep a 1:1 ratio of any birds I keep (well if I do chickens I think trio's are better so the rooster doesnt pester one particular hen to much) and to me the extera coast of keeping a few extera males is worth the long term security for me to have my own stock (if a hatchery goes under im not unable to produce my own food, and here in Canada we had two hatcheries that offered breeds outside of the normal production stuff go under in one year!! Both for different reasons but it has left a big hole in our heritage poultry world! so you can see why im so concerned about genetics, though not in the show sens of the word but I have other reservations about show breeding)
The genetic diversity or small gene pool is what worries me, too. It was good news to hear how I could xbreed mine and get a "sexlink" result and I do plan to eat mine, too, but not until I know I've got a gander or two for these gals. I love purebred but you also need a larger gene pool. So far I understand there are not so many health defects in the small gene pool for domestic flocks but there are infertility problems which suggests to me there may be more than meets the eye.

I'd like to be guided w/the xbreeding of mine and yes, it is creating mutts but they could then be bred back to get close to the pure line again but with the strength of the new addition to the gene pool-

I'd be in deep hot water if I was talking all this about my weimaraners...even though that gene pool is very small and there are health problems. For the record, I'd like to state up front, I have no such plans for my weimaraners, only my geese.

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