Geese argue forever. These two, Gregory (the white gander) and Greta (a grey goose) are good friends and spend all their time together. But there is nothing anyone could do to persuade them to be friends with any of our other geese. Geese have political parties and they are either a member of the clan or they’re out forever. They only like their own party members.
What makes them choose some geese over others? Is it size, race, beliefs, ideology, territory? Only geese know and they hiss fiercely when you ask them anything. There is nothing half hearted about this species of birds; they either like or hate you and will argue endlessly over the smallest matter. Most animals are competitive over food but this isn’t really an issue with geese. They are mostly aggressive and if Carl and Marx and Prescott get anywhere near Greg and Greta it’s attack – attack! Poor Gregory is an inoffensive chap and stands no chance against the the war tribe.
The grumpy geese have one mindset and it is to argue – who goes where, who eats what, who goes out first, who comes in first. They want the best, the most, the biggest and are the most determined of creatures. The only way to stop a gander would be to catch him and shut him up where he couldn’t do any harm. They are the ultimate single minded fighter. Catching them is a one go or you are in trouble affair. It’s not so easy to catch hold of their neck but if you’re quick you can do it and then at least you’ll be safe from the hard beak. At the same time you have to pin both wings down to the gander’s side and hold them there. It isn’t easy as Mr. Gander is a strong chap and if those wings get free ……. it’s been known for a goose to break an arm when he flails his wings. Luckily the occasions when we need to handle the geese are few. No amount of bribery would make these chaps be nice, so perhaps they are not so much like politicians after all!
It’s impossible to get geese to agree with members of another clan so the only option we have is to keep them apart. It’s not that geese aren’t intelligent, they are very bright and can learn new routines quickly. Whether they want to co-operate is quite a different matter. We let Greg and Greta out first in the morning. As soon as they understand what’s required, it’s easy. Out of the yard, through the gate, across the yard and up the top field. After an hour or two they come sauntering back for a snack and a siesta. They’ll walk with us and come to call, and although Greg hisses, it is just for show.
It’s much more dangerous to turn Prescott and gang out and you have to be pretty nimble. There’s nearly always a passing attack as they come through the gate. Do they waddle straight off down the field to eat grass? Sometimes, but they are just as likely to turn back and have a quick swipe. If one sees the other having a go, they usually decide to join in the fun. What would happen if these chunky geese got you down? I think you’d be in for some severe bruises. Their beaks are serrated and can break the skin, although it isn’t a bite as such, it causes broken skin. They are not even fair fighters and will sneak up behind and go for the back of your leg – and it hurts.
Do they mellow with age? Not so far. They are still fine birds though and striking to look at it with their beautiful white feathers, bright orange beaks and legs and amazing china blue eyes. They do make excellent guards, even the fiercest dog could be dominated and driven off by an expert – I don’t think anyone would ever manage to do that to a goose.