FATHER GOOSE adopts DUCK family

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ember, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. ember

    ember New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Oct 5, 2008
    Hudson Valley/NY
    Hello, ...I'm brand new here...and joined to ask if anyone has heard of our "situation".

    As a bit of background...

    We have a barnyard of mixed foul..geese, ducks, lots of banties, with our wildlife friends dropping in from time to time. Oh yes, and the "work crew"...the guineas!

    Last year, our Toulouse geese, good layers, poor setters...and occasionally indifferent mothers, had one baby goose, who we raised in the house, when ...on hatching, she decided he was not what she had in mind. He returned to the flock at about 6 weeks...and they happily accepted him.

    All was well till this year, when he started to have "ideas" about the mature geese. His father the gander left no doubt, that - that was out of the question.

    As a late September hatch, one of our Cayuga ducks produced to our surprise, a mixed group (our ducks deposit their eggs in the good setter's nests)...of 7 adorable duckings.. albeit with some dubious heritage. Could be rouen, blue swedish, cayuga, pekin or welch harlequin. One looks suspiciously like a khaki campbell, but since we have none of those, I imagine it's a cross of some sort!

    Last year's "baby" Toulouse goose, took an immediate, almost pining interest in the duck family. We had separated them into their own yard, (complete with "turtle pool) when they were old enough ...and he paced back and forth around the pen for hours watching and "fretting".
    When they had their "debut" into the main flock.. he immediately, deliberately took ownership.. sharing in the raising, guarding and general daily activities. Much to our surprise, their Cayuga Mom.. was not only tolerant, but seemed pleased!!! If she is sunning and he wanders off for a drink, the ducklings go with him. The will crawl over him, with no reaction ...steal his food, which he tolerantly allows.

    He is not terribly thrilled with their underwater swimming..(our baby geese, give that up early on) absolutely panics, if he thinks he could end up in the goose pen at night. He sleeps with the ducks.. stands guard over his flock in the coop, and spends a good deal of the day with his head cocked skyward, watching for hawks!.
    I could find only one reference on the internet, and that was too a wild Canadian goose, adopting a mallard family.

    Interestingly, the baby ducks have HIS personality, have assumed a "goose ranking".. even driving Guineas from the food line, and keeping all other adult ducks at bay. Basically, they've turned into little terrors in the barnyard..with more self confidence than I have ever seen in even an adult drake.

    Is this a common theme? I've never seen it and can't seem to find an information on the subject. We are looking forward to seeing this dynamic play out over the winter!!

    Would love to hear from anyone, who's been on this journey... how does the story end???
     
  2. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    I don't know, but that is adorable!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. xke4

    xke4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    707
    7
    161
    Feb 3, 2007
    We had a group of 5 Canada geese this year at the wildlife rehab centre who adopted a Mallard. It was quite remarkable to see them in flight when they matured.
     
  4. ember

    ember New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Oct 5, 2008
    Hudson Valley/NY
    I noted you are in SW Ontario, is the rehab center near the Pelee Island preserve?

    Also do you mean that they left together in flight? Do you think the mallard will migrate with the geese?

    I find this cross species behavior fascinating!! Sometimes I think they resolve, or better yet ignore their differences, better than we do!!!!
     
  5. xke4

    xke4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    707
    7
    161
    Feb 3, 2007
    It is called Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre and it is located in Mt. Brydges. You can check it out at www.salthaven.org
    The duck and geese were brought in together when they were very young, not yet flighted. They spent the summer together on the lawn despite a large number of both Canada geese and Mallards that grouped together according to species. And yes, they did fly away together but no way of knowing if they will migrate together. We occasionally have returns to the centre the next year so perhaps we will see them again.
     
  6. ember

    ember New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Oct 5, 2008
    Hudson Valley/NY
    Simply a superb center.. thanks for sharing that.

    Also an impressive website and articles on rehab if you wind your way through the web.

    Quite the operation and endeavor!
     
  7. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    I can't answer your question, ember, but I would love to see that scenario play out! I'd say let him continue to hang out with the duckies as long as the adult ducks don't mind, and enjoy each animal's unique personality! Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]
     
  8. ember

    ember New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Oct 5, 2008
    Hudson Valley/NY
    thanks for the welcome crtrlovr!!!!

    I am sure this is going to be a very informative place to chat, and looking forward to seeing what happens with this new "family.

    We live on a large farm with a bevy of foul... all pets, tho I do expect the odd egg here and there for their "keep"!

    Didn't really know what we were doing when we started 5 years ago, and not sure I know that much more now.. but have had exceptional luck with little or no tragedies! Everyone seems to get along. and "pecking order" seems to be well established.

    The adult ducks in this case, so far, have no interest whatsoever in the new arrangement, tho attempts to mate with her, NOW that she has him as protector are out of the question. Not scrappy , just a firm "no" As the ducks always defer to the geese, I don't expect that to change.

    As a matter of fact the 6 Toulouse are quite intent on NO ducks mating. Is this a common phenomenon?

    If the drakes are in the mood so to speak, it better happen outside of the eyes and earshot of the geese!

    Best I look for the beginners thread and ask questions!

    Again, thanks for the welcome!!
     
  9. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    Quote:Yeah, some days my fowl are foul, too. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. ember

    ember New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Oct 5, 2008
    Hudson Valley/NY
    CRRRINNGING at the REPEATED
    typo!!!!grin...

    am I banished to the chicken coop???
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by