Last week we took in three new African geese. These lovely ladies are proven layers, adults between two and five years of age. We got them from a nearby farm since we are unsure of the genders of our current flock, and also cannot resist a good deal on a goose.
As I’ve said before, geese are fascinating birds. They have spent the past two weeks figuring out a new pecking order, something which is a bit more sophisticated than the social networking of chickens. Chickens simply beat the new member into its place, usually quite cruelly. Geese have the same skeptical attitude towards newcomers, but their greater intelligence makes the transition a little bit easier and, to the human eye, more thoughtful.
Two of our geese, Penelope the Roman Tufted and Lady Goose our Brown Chinese, do not like the newcomers at all. Lady Goose’s expression was that of a spoiled child loosing attention to a new sibling. Penelope and Lady Goose will chase the trio away when they get too close and peck at them in cramped quarters. The other two older geese, Rupert the Sebastopol and Petunia the Dewlap Toulouse, could care less. However, unlike chickens, geese are able to figure out that “getting to know you” just requires space, and during their daily free range time they have remained a constant twenty feet apart.
As time has gone by, their distance apart has diminished and the new geese have started fitting into the gaggle. Brown Africans are a tall, upright breed slightly heavier than Chinese geese with lower, squeaky voices. Known to be noisier and excellent foragers, they also will lay about forty eggs a year. These geese had been kept in a pen with a shelter and hadn’t free ranged or been in a pond before, so they were delighted to have the freedom of movement and room to splash. They should enjoy a comfy winter with their new friends and start laying eggs in the spring.
Meanwhile, Penelope is feeling a little bit perturbed to have her kingdom invaded, but otherwise the older geese have accepted the new flock members. Before it freezes over, I’m sure we’ll see all seven of them swimming together in the pond.
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