Pilgrim Geese pair - 1980
Geese are known to be good watch dogs, loudly announcing any stranger approaching their territory. Their noise can be annoying, but the ganders can be lethal. When threatened or angered they may readily attack, biting with hard, rigid beaks and flailing with strong wing “wrist” bones. More than once I have felt the string of these bones against my shins, so that I am leery now and watch any goose closely - especially if it is a gander.
While living on some acreage in Idaho, we decided it might be nice to have a few geese. We’d heard they don’t require a lot of care, readily grazing on grasses and needing only fresh water, shelter and grain or poultry mix to keep them fat and healthy. We acquired a pair - grey female, splendid white male. We enjoyed them immensely; thought they looked regal strolling about our front pasture, warning of any strange activity. But as he grew, the male became cantankerous - lunging at me and the dogs as we entered the field. Grabbing mouthfuls of fur, he so traumatized the dogs that they never again went near a goose. I learned never to enter that gate without stick in hand, just in case. As spring approached, the female laid a clutch of eggs and the gander became more aggressive than ever. One time, as my husband was filling their water bucket from the other side of the fence, the gander charged. Even with the full blast of the hose in his face, he very nearly went over the top of the fence and into my husband’s face. A force to reckon with, for sure!
We moved to Washington in April that year, leaving behind the geese and their future family. Our good neighbors back in Idaho promised to care for them until the young hatched, then transport them to her father’s farm. We heard all went well, since her father knew all about geese. As we settled in here, we decided to once more get a pair of geese, and had a few for many years. Most of the time we enjoyed them and the ganders, while feisty, were manageable and predictable. We had mixed luck with goslings, the females occasionally hatching their own, many times failing. There was also the problem of raccoons sneaking in and raiding their share in the night. Finally, I decided to try incubating some eggs in the house. And so, that is how I ended up with a small flock of tiny goslings on that lovely spring day, waddling and pipping behind me, thinking I was their mother.
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty”
2 Corinthians 7:18