Farewell to Elsie, our Pilgrim Goose

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Dec 16, 2009
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South Eastern Ontario
Two weeks ago, when Brian went down to let the birds out for the day, he found that our beloved pilgrim goose, Elsie, had died in the night.

She'd been a little "off" for a few days, so it wasn't completely unexpected, but it hurts all the same. She was almost 13 years old, and there wasn't a day since she came to us as a three-day old gosling that she didn't make me smile.

Geese get a lot of bad press, but female Pilgrim geese are sweet-natured and gentle. Even the ganders are only a bit troublesome during the mating season.

We hatched our first gosling, Willow, under a broody hen in 2005. Willow and I always had a special bond. The next year, she raised Elsie and Ben, special-ordered from Oregon, along with her own mixed-breed goslings. Unfortunately, Pilgrim geese are prone to low fertility rates, so we never managed to raise any of our own. I had hoped to help establish the breed more strongly in this part of Ontario, but it didn't work out that way.

Elsie's passing marks the end our our homesteading ventures. Since then, without her protection, we lost our remaining two hens to predators. We'd never had a daytime loss in over ten years, and I attribute that to the geese. It's sad, but I feel truly blessed to have had those many years with the chickens, rabbits and geese. Especially the geese, Elsie and Willow.


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Sorry for your loss.

The best you can do is give them a good life while they are here.
Thanks, Ghost. And you're right . . . it's all we can do.

Elsie had a long and very happy life. I'm sure she had no complaints. We're lucky here to have 32 acres . . . Our poultry had the run of it, though they stayed fairly close to the house.
:eek: So sorry to hear of Elsie's passing Maggie. I know how fond you were of her having seen all the times you brought her up in your posts. Water fowl are very entertaining to have around. Better that ANY alarm system you could ever buy!

The wife and I have Ancona ducks (for eggs) right now and no matter how bad your day is a few minutes watching them always brings a smile to your face.

R.I.P. Elsie.
Thanks, Homer. Yes, waterfowl are different from other poultry. What I loved most about our geese was that particular combination of sweetness and mischief. It sounds like your Anconas are fun to have around too.

I get a lump in my throat when I look out the kitchen window at the yard and the empty sheds where our geese, chickens and rabbits lived. But I do it anyway because the sadness is followed by a wave of happy memories and a deep gratitude that I had those wonderful years with them.
You can always PM me your mailing address and some will show up on your doorstep Maggie. :twisted:

Everyone needs a good watch dog or three around the yard. ;) I've heard Pilgrims are good rattlesnake killers too.Yikes!
Homer, you quack me up. :lol:

Thanks, but no thanks. Truth is, both Brian and I are too gimpy to make taking care of them enjoyable -- especially in winter. I'll make do with the wild birds and critters I can see from the house and yard -- no shortage of those -- and with the one indoor moggie :catmoon: who sits on my lap and acts as a typing impediment.