The West of England is an ancient auto-sexing breed that has existed in Great Britain prior to 1600. The history is rather vague, but it is likely the auto-sexing attributes of the breed were developed over many centuries without the influence of foreign breeds.
Although they are a different breed to the Pilgrim, they are likely to feature in its ancestry. The first West of England geese were likely to have been exported to the New World at the time of the Pilgrim Fathers. The current struggle is to find pure stock.
The West of England geese have an orange bill and blue eyes, weighing between 6-9kg. The gander is white and the female is white with clear grey markings on its head, neck, back and thighs. They have a calm temperament.
The breed was developed by Adele Campbell of Uley, Gloucester. She heard of an Indian Runner Fawn white duck which had laid 182 eggs in 196 days and purchased this prolific bird to mate with a Rouen. The result was a breed which could be relied upon to produce an average of 200 eggs per year. In addition to the Indian Runner and Rouen, wild duck (mallard) was also used to make the breed hardier.
The original Campbell drakes had a dark green head, grey back, and pale claret breast, black stern, and white ring around the neck. They can come in three colour varieties – khaki, dark and white.