Best gander defense

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BeakSanctuary, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. BeakSanctuary

    BeakSanctuary Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Hi, everyone,

    This is my first goose flock ever (6 brown Chinese and 8 American Buff) and the oldest ones are six months old now. Things have been good so far with behavior. For example, I used to be able to herd them fairly easily - now they do more of what they want to and seem more disobedient, though tney still go in the coop at night, which is the main thing I care that they do.

    One of the geese, gander, the guy with the biggest knob, is apprently the defender and has started putting me on the defensive when I approach them by lowering his head as if to bite. I have all kinds of notions on the best way to solve this - I suspect I'll get conflicting answers if I ask, too, but what would you suggest I do so that I don't end up having a miserable relationship with this guy? I've been trying to make him back down by moving in his direction when he scares me, but I'm not sure that's going to solve our dispute, either. I don't want to be one who has bad stories to tell about biting, chasing geese. I'd rather they like me or at least not see me as an enemy.
  2. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Walk toward him with your head at his level and honk back. When he starts to retreat, raise up full height and honk more.

    Or if you have close neighbors who are always on the lookout for what the crazy goose people next door are up to now, like I do, just fuss at him while walking toward him. You wil need to be consistent.

    I find that watermelon and scratch are great ice breakers. But you have to consistently show him you are top gander in your flock.

    Geese are bullies by nature and like most bullies, if you call their bluff, they will start to respect you.
  3. MagsC

    MagsC Queen Of Clueless

    Jul 27, 2008
    You cant act afraid of him, they really CAN be bullies!
    I remember as a kid racing for the milk house with geese chasing me! As said, you have to call their bluff.
  4. Swamp Roo

    Swamp Roo Songster

    Apr 22, 2008
    SW FL
    A roasting pan is the best solution! Geese aren't my favorite critters in the world, but boy are they tasty. [​IMG] Honestly, I agree with what's been said. Geese are like school yard bullies, stand up to them or be run ragged. I'm 6'3" @ 195#, and I really am not afraid of geese, so not showing fear is easy for me. I hiss right back and take a step forward. Usually they will retreat noisily (I don't follow). Use a corn broom if you need to, that way you can swat or push them away without hurting them. A broom is a great confidence builder if you are naturally timid. Just plant it vertically in front of you, the gander will have to get around it to to get to you and you can pivot around or push him with it. Fine line between pivoting around the broom and being chased though. Don't point it at him unless you need to use it, that is aggressive. Teach him you won't attack or threaten him unless he attacks or threatens you first. Oh, while this is not a problem for you now, I should add that if a pair have goslings, all bets are off. I try to give them their space until the young have fledged. Still won't let them chase me or drive me off though.

  5. thewife

    thewife In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2007
    I always thought of geese as egos, with feathers, you break that ego, and you have a friend for life!!
    When I got my tufted romans, the gander was an adult and one evil bugger!
    If he came after me in attack mode, I would grab him by the head, wrap my arms around him and carry him around for awhile! Or, I would just grab him and give him a big HUG, until he quit squirming!
    After that, I would walk towards him, until he walked away from me. If, when I turn around to leave, he would do the head down thing and follow me, I would go back! Some times I would keep following him and cut him out from the others!

    Now, if I think he is getting a little cocky, I just squat down open my arms and ask him if he needs a hug! Seems he don't want hugs anymore!
    I spent yesturday in the goose pen, trying to chicken proof the garden fence. All four geese were right there with me, begging for weeds and just hanging out! I will admit, I was a little paranoid, with all the goose talk going on behind my back, while I was squatted down at their level, but it was all good!!!

    I do have to add, one person running from them, can rebuild that ego quickly, causing you to have to start training all over again!(stupid step brats)
    And, no matter how much time you put into making them safe for YOU, others may not be so lucky! My gander has flown over the fence to get the Hubby and has ripped his bill, trying to bite the boy through the fence! But, like I said, he was an evil bugger when I got him!
  6. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Show him who is boss or sell him.

    Your best bet is to keep a walking stick with you, both for defense and to herd them. I've found that it's much easier to wave a stick in one direction or the other instead of flap your arms around and hope they go where they're supposed to. I have a walking stick in our (almost) quarter acre goose pasture and can almost stand in one spot and herd everyone up to their pen. When you raise the stick for whatever reason your geese should respond. When you don't have the stick raised they should know that they don't have to run everywhere.

    If the goose charges you then you really need to charge him back. You can yell "no" or "bad" when you charge. Keep it simple - something they can remember. Honking probably works, too, but I don't bother. For one, I feel silly when I'm out in the field honking, and for two, I have no idea what I'm actually saying when I'm honking. For all I know I'm stringing together "GRASS SKY BAD TASTE YOU EGG SMELL" and screaming it at the goose [​IMG]

    You _shouldn't_ have to resort to whapping him with a stick. If you do, and have to do so more than once, then he may need to be sold. I don't even allow my geese to hiss at me - I'm not a threat and anyone who thinks I'm a threat outside of the breeding season will be a hundred times worse once a nest is being guarded.

    Geese are big bullies, but they're also extremely curious, jealous and can be ruled through the stomach (they're like a cross between a puppy, a kitten and a toddler). Offer treats to friendly geese that are relaxed around you (ie. your American Buffs [​IMG] and let the others figure out why they're not getting the goodies. If they demand treats then ignore them, if they act out aggressively then quickly stomp a few steps toward them and smack the ground with the stick.

    If nothing else works and you want to keep him then isolate him from the rest of the flock. Put him in a pen by himself where he can't see the other geese and make him depend on you for food, water, companionship and treats. He'll no longer have to defend anyone but himself, and since he doesn't have a flock to be haughty and tough in front of he'll lose some of his gusto. Geese hate to be alone - they're flock animals. Being taken away from that flock frustrates them to no end and they try to find someone else to bond with, be it a chicken, duck, person or dog.

    Good luck with your goose. I've immediately gotten rid of every Chinese goose I've ever had - they're just too loud and aggressive for me. I like my geese to be seen and not heard [​IMG]
  7. BeakSanctuary

    BeakSanctuary Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Thanks to all of you for the suggestions and for trying to help. Seems like a common thread there about not seeming too weak to them, I guess the way one tries taming a rooster. What still remains to be seen, not having experienced it yet, is whether the guy is building up to attacking rather than just looking and trying to scare me off. I think, reading between the lines a bit, that it could become that. He does definitely hiss. I admit I'd hate to get bitten if it were more than a little nip.

    Often there are no problems, say, in the pen when lots of birds are around, but passing them by when they're in the field is another story and his goal is to keep me as far away as he prefers. And then he likes me to keep going... away.

    So would you say one dominant goose might be the worst of it, or could there be several that get aggressive? I guess that's a rhetorical question because things can always get worse than they are. The Buffs are mostly aloof and I've not been challenged by them so far.

    I know I've given lots of treats, though they're usually free-ranging when the chickens get their treats. I could try to take them something special to see if they can appreciate it or if they just want me gone in a hurry. Another close call and I won't be going without a stick or broom because I'm not sure what will happen.

    Makes me glad to know there are friends with geese here for support. I want this to work out - I'm willing to be more understanding about breeding season, etc. Thanks!
  8. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    I love American Buffs - they are going to be virtually the opposite of your Chinese. Where your Chinese are loud your Buffs are quiet, where the Chinese are aggressive, your Buffs are laid back.

    Chinese are perfect guard geese, which can make them extremely aggressive. A few weeks ago someone gave me their Chinese because, after being perfect angels as goslings, they suddenly became aggressive toward anyone coming into the yard (besides their owner, who they were smitten with). I kept him _far_ away from my main flock since I didn't want him teaching my mellow ones any bad behavior.

    If you aren't attached to this goose then you may want to just get rid of him before he pairs up with one of the less aggressive geese. Geese learn by example and will be waiting to see who wins this stand off.

    With all of this being said, I still think your main weapons are dominance and treats. You don't want him to fear you or be annoyed when you come close. You just want him to understand that it isn't his job to protect the flock from you. Besides, if you win over the stomachs of everyone else in the flock then he'll look silly when he tries to warn them that you're dangerous.

    Just be careful, he'll be itching to tell everyone "told you so" if things turn sour.
  9. BeakSanctuary

    BeakSanctuary Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Yes, I like the Buffs, also. I chose them because of the ALBC rating and, on the other hand, "received" the Chinese or Africans, whichever they are, from McMurray in a barnyard combination (actually two batches of barnyard combinations. Each time, they sent three instead of what they say they will send, two, and I thought, "Yeah!". What a deal!

    I had to put chickens away by hand last night after it got dark with a flashlight and it occurred to me that the geese might REALLY freak out thinking me the aggressor/predator in the dark, but though they piled out of the house to see what was going on, they were nonconfrontive and just confused/baffled. I can say I felt lucky. Thanks for your insights!
  10. vicki2x2

    vicki2x2 Super Chick

    Feb 9, 2008
    Central Michigan
    Hey BeakSanctuary,

    Where do you live? I really need a buff gander, got any extra??? [​IMG]

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