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Buff Back and Grey Back Goose: Facts, Uses, Pictures, Origins & Characteristics

American Buff Goose

The term Buff Back and Grey Back Goose refers to the American Buff Goose. It is a relative to the Graylag Goose of Eurasia. You may also see it called simply the Buff Goose or Buff Grey Back. The Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain recognizes the Buff Back/Grey Back Goose by this name.

Part of the confusion with this particular breed is its rare status. It’s not a species you may see often. Interestingly, the color of the American Buff Goose also adds to its unique characteristics. You’re more likely to see geese in white or black than this shade.

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Quick Facts about Buff Back and Grey Back Goose

Breed Name: American Buff Goose
Place of Origin: United States
Uses: Meat and eggs
Gander (Male) Size: 17–22 pounds
Goose (Female) Size: 15–20 pounds
Color: Fawn or apricot plumage
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Climate Tolerance: Up to 20 years in captivity and the wild
Care Level: All climates
Egg Production:     Up to 25 eggs per year
Meat Production: Easy, flavorful

Buff Back and Grey Back Goose Origins

The American Buff Goose is an all-American breed, one of only two developed in the United States. That fact alone makes it unique. The American Poultry Association recognized this medium-sized goose in 1947. Its color makes it stand out from the usual ones we’d expect to see. Its origins harken back to the Graylag breed of Europe and Asia before it became a domesticated bird stateside.

Buff Back and Grey Back Goose Characteristics

One of the outstanding characteristics of the American Buff Goose is how docile it is. That makes it an excellent choice for individuals new to the hobby or those with children just getting started in livestock management. The bird is also quiet and not as vocal as many other fowl species. If you live in an urban or suburban area, this species will fit in well and not disturb your neighbors.

The American Buff Goose is an adaptable bird and able to handle an array of climatic conditions. That’s another point in its favor if you live someplace where the weather is challenging. Interestingly, this breed was intended for commercial production because of its flavorful meat and other benefits. However, it became more popular with small farmers because of its temperament and adaptability.

American Buff Goose
Image Credit:Taija Luce, Shutterstock

Buff Back and Grey Back Goose Uses

The American Buff Goose is a medium-sized bird and the largest of its class. Its egg production is decent. It also produces tasty meat. The bird is moderately broody, which serves these purposes. It’s relatively long-lived if you’re looking for a reliable layer. Geese aren’t typically as prolific as chickens, yet you’ll get your money’s worth from this species.

Appearance & Varieties

The American Buff Goose is unique because of its color. Despite the association with grey varieties, it is a fawn or apricot bird that is quite striking. It also has a reddish-orange bill, feet, and legs, which are an attractive contrast to its plumage. That’s probably one reason that it remains a popular species despite its scarcity. You’ll find it both in standard and tufted varieties.

Grey Back Goose
Image Credit: SunflowerMomma, Shutterstock

Buff Back and Grey Back Goose Population, Distribution & Habitat

The Livestock Conservancy estimates that there are only 500 or fewer birds in captivity. Part of the reason is that its popularity gravitated more toward small farmers than commercial production. Its temperament is more well-suited to the former. Its ancestor, the Graylag Goose, lives in a broad spectrum of habitats, from wetlands to pasture lands.

duck-paw-dividerAre Buff Back and Grey Back Goose Good for Small-Scale Farming?

The Buff Back and Grey Back Goose is ideal for small-scale farming. It’s integral to the breed’s survival as its number dwindle. Hopefully, their popularity will increase as more people try their hands at DIY activities like canning and raising livestock. The American Buff Goose will fit the bill to a tee. Its calm temperament makes it an ideal choice for the novice farmer.


Featured Image Credit: Diane Kuhl, Shutterstock

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