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Bully Gander / No Eggs Problem

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have six adult Embden geese from Holderread Farm. Three 1-year ganders, two 1-year gooses, and one 3-year goose. The dominant gander is a bully who sometimes chases the others away from the water buckets, especially the 3-year goose. She almost completely keeps away from the others due to this bully gander aggresively chasing her (the bully has his own female follower goose I assume is his mate). Yesterday I put one of the water buckets far away from the others and the 3-year goose went to it and just drank and drank like she was really really thirsty. So I have to do something about this bully gander. Either I need to section off a third of the fenced yard for this bully and his mate; or the bully is going to go to freezer camp. Sectioning off would be a bit inconvenient, but doable if necessary. If I did do that, would one of the other two ganders assume a dominant role to the extent that he too would become a bully? Is this sort of behavior universal among whichever gander is dominant, or is the bullying probably unique to this one particular gander? Also the gooses do not much go into the well-lit 10-ft x 12-ft shed I set up for them with three large "A" frames within. I see signs that they visit it, but no eggs within yet. Kinda bummed out about that since offspring is why I got them. Should I lock the females into the shed overnight to acclimate them to it, or would that be a traumatizing experience for them which would cause tham to be even more avoiding of it? Any advice on the bully and egg situation would be MUCH appreciated!

post #2 of 3

First, try to stop thinking of your birds' behavior in terms of human emotion. This bird is not a "bully", his behavior is a normal consequence of the inappropriate situation he is in, through no fault of his own. That often manifests as what some humans think of as abnormal behavior.

Three ganders with three geese (the correct plural of goose) is much too high of a sex ratio. In reality only one gander is needed in a flock of that size. You may try two, but there may still be some problems with even that. I understand that it is one of the females that seems to be bothered, but like I said, an abnormal situation is likely to produce what you interpret as abnormal results. It may in fact be the favorite hen of the dominant gander that is pushing away this hen. And are you sure that it is in fact a hen? You could try to take out one or two of the ganders. Two ganders without the influence of any hens can actually get along quite well, if they are out of sight of the hens. You could also seperate the six birds into three pairs, which would almost certainly solve the problem, again, if the submissive bird is indeed a hen. If any of that is inconvenient, remember that animals do not recognize your wishes. Their behavior can be modified to a certain extent, but that only goes so far if you do not understand and allow for their normal behavior.

 

Geese need very little shelter even in the worst climate. They can and will use a shed, but are more likely not to. Depending on what your pen is like, they may already be laying somewhere else outside. Look closely. Locking them in will not "traumatize" them, (again, human emotions), but they obviously prefer not to use it. You could also try just putting the A frames outside by themselves. They don't usually require elaborate nesting facilities. The shed is more for your benefit, or maybe to keep feed dry. Sometimes they might never go inside except to lay, or if that is where the feeders are kept.

post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post

First, try to stop thinking of your birds' behavior in terms of human emotion. This bird is not a "bully", his behavior is a normal consequence of the inappropriate situation he is in, through no fault of his own. That often manifests as what some humans think of as abnormal behavior.

Three ganders with three geese (the correct plural of goose) is much too high of a sex ratio. In reality only one gander is needed in a flock of that size. You may try two, but there may still be some problems with even that. I understand that it is one of the females that seems to be bothered, but like I said, an abnormal situation is likely to produce what you interpret as abnormal results. It may in fact be the favorite hen of the dominant gander that is pushing away this hen. And are you sure that it is in fact a hen? You could try to take out one or two of the ganders. Two ganders without the influence of any hens can actually get along quite well, if they are out of sight of the hens. You could also seperate the six birds into three pairs, which would almost certainly solve the problem, again, if the submissive bird is indeed a hen. If any of that is inconvenient, remember that animals do not recognize your wishes. Their behavior can be modified to a certain extent, but that only goes so far if you do not understand and allow for their normal behavior.

 

Geese need very little shelter even in the worst climate. They can and will use a shed, but are more likely not to. Depending on what your pen is like, they may already be laying somewhere else outside. Look closely. Locking them in will not "traumatize" them, (again, human emotions), but they obviously prefer not to use it. You could also try just putting the A frames outside by themselves. They don't usually require elaborate nesting facilities. The shed is more for your benefit, or maybe to keep feed dry. Sometimes they might never go inside except to lay, or if that is where the feeders are kept.

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My menagerie includes 5 horses, 3 dogs, 3 cats, 34 geese (mostly dewlap toulouse & African), 15 ducks, and 1 fancy pigeon.

NPIP Certified- #UT-179

Spirit's story: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/725035/spirit-the-amazing-grey-dewlap-toulouse-gander/
Reply
My menagerie includes 5 horses, 3 dogs, 3 cats, 34 geese (mostly dewlap toulouse & African), 15 ducks, and 1 fancy pigeon.

NPIP Certified- #UT-179

Spirit's story: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/725035/spirit-the-amazing-grey-dewlap-toulouse-gander/
Reply
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