This past month our four geese turned into three geese.
We still had four geese in the pen, but one decided to hatch some goslings. She stayed on her nest faithfully while the other three geese palled around.
She built three nests, chose one, and then shifted the nest around in the goose shelter over time. It was the oddest thing.
While the female goose was trying her wing at hatching, I expanded their pen with some portable fence netting so they could have more green grass. They were suspicious I was up to no good.
If the green grass wasn’t enough to blow their minds, I added a baby wading pool to their pen. They ignored it for three days–suddenly all of them were allergic to water.
After the allergies wore off, they started doing things like synchronized bathing.
They also scheduled fights by the pool (and in the pool). I could pretend the fights were over water rights, but actually they happened whenever one male goose made a move on the dominant male’s lady friends. All fights ended with the dominant male strutting around with a beak full of feathers.
A little less then a month later things got really crazy. The second female decided she wanted to be a last-minute mother. She started sitting on the nest next to the hard working mother goose. The dominate male goose started standing at attention outside the goose hut. The goose swearing and hissing reached epic proportions.
Three little goslings hatched out. They were immediately stuck in the goose hut because the bottom frame is too high, so Lee made a gosling ramp. One gosling ended up not making it after two days. It was the runt.
With new goslings to watch over, all goose interactions were along the lines of, “GET AWAY FROM MY BABIES!!!!!”
Charging geese look pretty ridiculous. They always remind me of frozen holiday turkeys on little legs barreling towards you while saying, “I WILL KILL YOU”. We suffer an awful lot of smack talk from the geese now, but they always pull up their charge at the last moment. Probably because I am bigger then them. And I have boots.
Right after the goslings were hatched, we saw the non-dominate male goose try to bite one of the baby’s heads. That started a new war between the males. Now we have one male goose that has been put on a solitary confinement of sorts. The top goose allows him to hang out with them sometimes, but at other times he has to keep his distance or there will be feather ripping.
When we go into the pen, the geese go into gosling herding mode and surround and shepherd them away from us. They are just sure we eat babies for breakfast and they aren’t going to allow that on their watch.
One day one of the goslings escaped the pen and I had to catch it. As I walked back to the gate with it, they circled the remaining gosling and started leading it away from me. I guess they figured the second gosling was a goner. As soon as I set the gosling down they realized their baby was back and I had two geese in formation with their wings stretched out running towards me screaming bloody murder. The gosling ran between them to the two mothers who herded them off quickly.
In short, geese are pretty amazing and they know it.