Duck, Goose & Game Bird Hatchery

Customer Stories and Helpful Advice About Ducks & Geese

What Is Going On Inside Your Goose's Head?

Have you ever been the victim of a good wing-beating? Or even better...that excruciating clench that makes you think your skin has been slammed in the car door? That hadn't happened to me in a while, as the "teenage hormonal phase" is past.
But I have learned a few thing that ring a bell of familiarity from many of the passages I've read in my goose books. I've learned that geese have "triggers." More so Mr Buttons as he is the male and the more high strung and emotional of our two. Triggers at our house are: black garbage garbage cans on wheels..plastic grocery sacks... All of which have the capability of producing in my gander an intense but comical display of rage combined with wing beating and honking and screaching.
I've also learned that our geese don't bite us simply because they are naturally aggressive. They are NOT naturally aggressive. They are naturally gentle, but because they are not preditors their only defense is to attack with a fury whenever they percieve threat, whether it be real or imagined. This is hard wired into them for their protection and survival... And because in the wild, geese don't have the time to assess a situation and think it through and then come up with the appropriate response, their triggers are VERY VERY SHORT!!
One trigger in particular got me in trouble this week. It's the hose and the water bucket. Mr Buttons apparently cherishes his water buckets. They are more than just drinking vessels. They are precious vessels associated with cleansing and mating. They are HIS. They are not to be disrespected.
Having said this, I was in the yard cleaning the water buckets. As usual, here comes my little boy... Head up in the air, trotting like a Wal Mart manager who has spotted a shop lifter... First he starts this action like he's dipping... Head to the ground... Then the little neck starts quivering and then the nipping starts. Not the gentle nipping, but the nipping that soon turns deadly. All I needed to do is to drop the water hose, and scoop him up and hug him. But NO. I just had to get a mere two more inches of water in the bucket and I'd be done. That was my big mistake. I'd already tripped the switch. I now have a bruise on my arm the size of a saucer. You know that nice tender place on the inner part of your arm between your elbo and armpit?
I'm sorry to say, but it hurts like hell even 3 days later! Lesson learned. He only did what he is programmed to do. I was the offender and I knew it. He is NOT to be scolded. So I did drop the hose finally and I had to yank a bit to detach his vice-like beak from my tender flesh. I grabbed him gently by his neck and put his head around my other shoulder. I hugged him until he calmed down, all the while telling him, 'I'm sorry little boy".. It'll be ok. I'm so sorry...." In no time he's grooming my hair and kissng my face. Go figure. I know he loves me and he knows I love him. But I remember reading in one of our goose books that geese do not have a pecking order. They deal with each other with RESPECT! They respect each other's space, nest, mate... The body language was there and I didn't respect it. He was trying to tell me that he was upset and I didn't listen. After a point, he doesn't have any control over the matter. He does what he was programmed to do to survive. I tripped the switch.
Perhaps we're puzzled by some of the behavior of our geese. Let's remember that they want to be part of our world as much as we want to be part of theirs. We can't change what God programmed into them to survive, but we can respect it. We must be polite. We must be gentle and firm. It's only been a 10 month journey for us so far. There's a long happy road ahead. Hopefully we will learn to communicate more effectively, and bond more profoundly. They consider us to be family. I certainly don't want to alienate them.

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