The American Buff goose was developed in North America and is descended from the wild Greylag goose, which is found in Europe and Northern Asia. The history of this colorful goose is obscure. It may have developed from buff mutations in flocks of gray geese, or it may have been refined from buff colored stock imported from Europe. It was admitted to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1947.
The American Buff is a lovely apricot-fawn color. The buff colored feathers on its back and sides are edged with creamy white. Its abdomen is nearly white. Its bill and feet are orange to reddish orange, and the hard "nail" at the tip of the bill is a pale pink. Its legs may fade to pink during laying, or when green grass is not available. The American Buff has brown eyes.
The breed is the largest of the medium weight class of geese with mature ganders weighing about 18 pounds and mature geese weighing about 16 pounds. The body conformation of the American Buff is typically European in style. It has a medium-long neck with deeply furrowed feathers. It has a chunky body with little or no evidence of a keel, a slightly arched back, and two rounded fatty lobes on the abdomen. The tail is held in line with or only slightly above the line of the back. This sturdy body is set on moderately sized legs that are set suitably far apart to provide a stable base.
When selecting breeding stock, first consideration should be given to good body size. A medium shade of buff that is free of gray is preferred. Even color on the back is desirable, though a portion of the plumage usually is somewhat checkered or mottled, even on today's best show specimens. Avoid breeding stock with pinched heads, small or shallow bodies, prominent keels, gray in the plumage, and excessively faded or dark color. To produce the highest percentage of offspring with correct color, some breeders have found it helpful to use ganders that are slightly lighter in color than their standard-colored mates. Ganders can be mated with three to five geese.
The American Buff goose is calm and docile. They are good parents, attending well to their goslings. These attributes make the breed well suited for the average home flock. The American Buff makes a medium-large roasting bird. Its colored plumage does not show soil as readily as that of white birds, yet its light colored pin feathers allow it to dress out as cleanly as a white goose.
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The Book of Geese
- Dave Holderread
Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin: Raising Ducks and Geese