Cotton Patch Goose

More Information:

  • Slow Food USA
  • Map of Growers
  • Find Growers by State:

Cotton Patch GooseOnce commonplace on farms in the southeastern U.S., the Cotton Patch is a breed of goose that gets its name from the job it performed. These geese were used to weed cotton and corn fields up until the 1950s. Cotton Patch geese are typically remembered in the rural south for helping many farmers and their families survive the Great Depression by providing a regular source of meat, eggs, and grease.

The breed's beginnings are not clear but it is thought to have derived from European stock brought to the U.S. during the colonial period. Cotton Patch geese possess many qualities that are common in sex-linked European breeds such as the West of England, Shetland, and Normandy geese. However, these breeds are recent importations to North America, and have not played a role in the development of the Cotton Patch goose. The Cotton Patch goose is the remaining relic of a little known American breed of goose with parent stock that probably shares common ancestors with the above mentioned sex-linked geese breeds. Cotton Patch are sexually dimorphic as other sex-linked goose breeds, but differ by having pink or orange-pink bills, light weight bodies, and the ability to fly.

The Cotton Patch is an "upright" goose with tail in line with back and wings, giving it a clean wedge shape without a "prick" tail. The Cotton Patch's body is more elongated and is not rounded like that of the Shetland or Pilgrim goose. Lobe development – the fat flaps between the legs of a goose – is minimal and a single lobe, if any, becomes present with supplemental feeding. Without supplemental feed, a lobe is not present. The Cotton Patch's head is rounded and the beak is dished. There is one strain that more closely resembles the Pilgrim and has a beak that is slightly "roman". The ganders in this strain tend to have as many gray feathers as Pilgrim ganders, but these feathers are all dove gray – unlike the Pilgrim in which they can be slate gray.

The Cotton Patch is a "sleek" goose that resembles Greylag geese. The breed is light to medium-sized. Because of its smaller size, the breed has the ability to adjust to hot weather better than most of the heavier breeds of geese. Cotton Patch geese have the ability to fly well beyond their first year, easily clearing 5-6 foot fences without a running start. Although this may seem like a fault to some, this ability often allows the birds to escape predators unlike the heavier geese.

The Cotton Patch goose is superbly adapted to sustainably managed farm systems since they need little to no intervention by their owners in order to thrive. It is listed as critical on the American Livestock Association's Conservation Priority List.

Cotton Patch goose meat is moist and flavorful with a clean texture. Some say it's the most delicious goose they've ever tasted!

Photo courtesy of Mark See

Photos of Cotton Patch Goose




Showing page 1 of 3 for 13 listings

Worth It Farms, LLC

  Chattahoochee Hills, GA

We are a small, family farm dedicated to hanging onto and bringing back "heritage breeds" of livestock. We use The Livestock Conservancy to assist us in selecting with breeds to keep, along with our own research. We know that the best way to save a breed from extinction is make it useful on the farm again. (more...)


Tranquil Farms

  Montgomery, TX

Tranquil Farms is a small family run farm in Montgomery, TX. We believe in and use sustainable farming and traditional animal husbandry practices in all of our farm operations. This farm has been in our family for over 30 years and during that time has never had any chemical fertilizers or pesticides used. (more...)


Tejas Heritage Farm

  Cleveland, TX

Our Farm operation is dedicated to sustainable organic practices for producing the highest quality foods possible for you and your family. As sustainable agriculturalists we believe in preserving heritage livestock breeds and heirloom open pollinated plant stock. (more...)


Southern Heirloom Acres

  Kershaw, SC    LocalHarvest Sponsor!

We are a small family own poultry farm that specializes in ducks and geese. Our ducks and geese are free range and pasture raised. Currently our focus is upon duck and goose eggs. In the future we plan to expand into duck and goose meat. We currently have a layer flock of around 150 birds and plan to continue to expand our flock. (more...)


Prudom Farms

  Middleport, NY

Established in 1913, Prudom Farms is a family run operation now spanning 6 generations. We work in co-operation with other local farmers to provide a large variety of local, natural grown produce. Our goal is to build the local economy, raise awareness of organic v. (more...)


Perennial Roots

  Accomac, VA

Our project began as a homestead. We were looking to live a simpler life. As we cultivated herbs and tended our trees, we began to produce more than we could eat. We eased into selling to neighbors and friends and markets. We use no pesticides or herbicides -- we are a no-spray farm. (more...)