Once 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 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 posses 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.
Cotton Patch Standards:
Solids will often be “pied” slightly. This is normal. Good breeding birds will have pink feet and bill and boys will have blue eyes. “All ganders should have blue eyes. If one does not have blue eyes, he should be deepfreeze bound”-Tom Walker
Be careful regarding the purchasing of what may be called Cotton Patch geese. The Cotton Patch geese are suppose to have pink bill and feet. The feet and bill color distinguishes the Cotton Patch from the Pilgrim and some other geese which have orange bill and feet. Not all who claim to have Cotton Patch geese are committed to the historic pink bill and feet. (take a look at the video and the photos to the left, you can see the pink and orange colors)
“Over a period of three or so years I traveled more than 10,000 miles to Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee trying to find as pure as possible some Cotton Patch geese. I have breeding pairs representing the best that I could find during that time. I hope that there are enough good quality Cotton Patch geese remaining to re-establish this lovely, mild-tempered goose to its erstwhile purity.”–Tom Walker
Most Solid females have some white on their face around the base of their bill. The white normally increases in size as they get older. Most Solid males(as they mature) typically have some colored (dove gray/brown/black) feathers in wings and tail, on their back, and a bit on their thighs.
“The “city slickers” who insist on calling the Saddleback females pieds are overlooking the fact that basically ALL Cotton Patch geese are pieds as they characteristically have a combination of at least two colors.”–Tom Walker