HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
August 6, 2007, Herald Journal

Guard goose on the loose

By JENNIFER GALLUS

My beloved geese are still part of my waterfowl farm, much to the disgust of my husband.

When I first started acquiring ducks, my husband was fine with it. When I suggested getting geese, as well, he vehemently opposed it.

Somewhere within the depths of my husband’s soul, there exists a genuine hatred of these animals.

However, we compromised on ordering four pilgrim geese from a waterfowl farm in Oregon. Pilgrim geese are known for many things like their friendliness, talkativeness, and auto-sexing plumage, which means you can tell if it’s a male or a female as soon as it hatches by its color.

When the 2-day-old goslings arrived, I immediately fell in love with them. I didn’t think it was possible, but they are even cuter than ducklings.

I ordered two males and two females so two were yellow (males) and two were silver (females). One male in particular was extremely friendly from the start and always approached me when I visited or fed them.

I named him Petey. The other three always kept a safe distance and even today, a year later, act much the same.

Petey always approaches and talks to me while the others keep their distance. However, I’m the only one Petey likes, apparently, and some funny scenarios are played out on a daily basis between him, and his enemies.

Petey has decided that the following are his enemies: my boys, my husband, visitors, my dogs, and vehicles. The other three geese have not made it known that they have any enemies, and they are not quite as aggressive as Petey.

My boys learned quickly how to defend themselves against Petey and no longer are subject to getting their rear ends attacked by him. The boys are often amused by the geese and have established an understanding with them.

One visitor to my house approached the geese to get a good look at them and Petey bit him in a spot that no man cares to be struck.

I’m not proud to admit that I laughed about the attack and didn’t apologize for my goose’s behavior because anyone who approaches an animal intentionally is subject to its reaction.

One of my dogs stays her distance from the geese, but the other dog taunts them and is sometimes bit in the rear by Petey. However, this dog has gotten in some good swats, as well, on Petey.

Dirty looks with his head twisted a funky way is one of Petey’s specialties. Cars seem to irritate him, even my car, and one time, the wheel of my tire must have rubbed the side of his foot during an attack while I was attempting to park, and made it bleed.

My husband has no time for the geese and has established his presence and intolerance clearly with the geese so that they do not usually cross paths.

The fact that the geese have, on occasion, gotten into the garage and left special “evidence” on the floor or all over the sidewalk has further kindled my husband’s strong dislike for the feathered friends of mine.

The geese have a strange hankering to walk on concrete and do their business. I’m happy to report that I’m close to having them “concrete broke.” It’s kind of like “house breaking” a pet, but rather it’s training the geese to not walk on the concrete.

They have been nearly angelic in that department for the last month. Unfortunately, it doesn’t impress my husband. He would still like to see them hit the road.

I can’t do it. They have way too much personality. They even keep me entertained when I’m weeding because they’ll stand about one foot behind me, chattering away, and will grab the weeds I throw to them. They follow me around, and they make me laugh.

As life gets crazier, the people and things that make us laugh become invaluable. The trouble comes in balancing who or what is invaluable to one person yet not to another.

Kid-isms

My 6-year-old was playing a computer game, and when a pop-up window appeared on the screen, he came running to me, and said, “Mom, I need your ‘reading’ to help me with the game!”