“Dedicated to Preserving America’s Landrace Goose”
Brought to the New World by European colonists, these sexually dimorphic geese were a staple on homesteads and farms. Used for their eggs, meat, grease, down, and weeding abilities, these early American geese were allowed to adapt to their local environments, thus creating the land race breed commonly referred to today as Cotton Patch Geese.
These are a hardy, self-sufficient, light weight goose ranging in size generally from 7-10 lbs. The females come in two phases – a solid grey that often has white facial markings and a pied which is white with grey markings. These are also often referred to as saddlebacks. The males are a solid white with small amounts of grey. Their bills and legs range from a very pink color to a pink with orangeish undertones. Because these are a landrace, you will see slight variations between geese originating in various areas of North America.
Goslings are sexable at hatch, primarily through down color, with the females having very dark down and the males a much lighter shade. Female goslings of the solid phase often have very dark grey bills and feet, the males a much lighter shade. The pied/saddleback phase can be more difficult to sex, owing to the fact that the bill colors in females and males can be similar. Dark down vs light down still holds true.
As our society industrialized and moved away from a the small farm culture, these geese dwindled in numbers. Just called “geese” by their smallholder keepers, they did continue to exist in isolated pockets, primarily in the Southern United States. In the early 2000’s, interest in this breed was renewed and once again, small farmers are finding them geese to be a useful part of their farming operations.
Currently, the Cotton Patch Goose is listed as critical on The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. More dedicated breeders are needed to help ensure that they are not lost to our agricultural history.