Thursday, March 24, 2011

The geese

 I have four geese on my farm.  Two pairs, one white, the other embden.  I got these geese from a fellow whose farm was being foreclosed on; they had turkeys, and I bought those, but he had these geese too, and I was there and...
  The initial thought was to keep them until the holidays and then eat them for Christmas, but I got used to having them around, and they're a pretty good farm doorbell -- whenever someone they don't know comes down the driveway they're on it -- and they're pretty much self-feeding.  They eat a bit of the feed from the animal feeders, and some of the produce we feed to the hogs, and lots of grass.  So it's been pretty painless to have them around.   This time of year the two grey geese are both convinced that they should sit on eggs.  They're both females, so none of the eggs are fertile, but that doesn't stop them from trying to hatch them. 

 The top goose is pretty aggressive about her chosen nest, but this one is pretty shy.  "Please let me keep my eggs".  She doesn't want to make eye contact, and would prefer in fact to just put her head under her wing until I go away.  I slipped a couple of duck eggs under her that will hatch if she sits on them long enough.  The instinct to be a mother is very strong. 
 I'm a little curious to see what she'll do with the ducklings. 
 These are the white geese.  They don't really have a fixed nesting place that they defend, but they defend wherever they happen to be.  So they're both hissing at me and making goose faces at me, and when they see me walk away they cackle with joy and wiggle their tails and wave their necks, which is what the goose in the picture below is doing.  Goose victory!


Rae said...

Goose victory... Lol. We just brought home our first goslings this week, and can't wait to see how they turn out when grown. Keep us updated on the duck eggs! That will be a sight to see if they hatch. :)

Anonymous said...

That goose will raise the ducklings as her own. We had a goose who watched our female duck hatch out a dozen ducklings. She was very jelous and at first just tried to be the cool auntie who helped out. But slowly she worked her way in so that they were ever so subtlety fighting over who the ducklings belonged to. One day on the mother ducks watch, over 1/2 the ducklings manged to get in the little wading pool, but could not get back out and drowned. From that point on, the goose took over and didn't let the ducklings out of her sight. A few days later the mother duck was killed by the neighbors dog - but the ducklings had already bonded with their new mother.