Female Geese Trying to Mate with Each Other

Discussion in 'Geese' started by cmcm, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. cmcm

    cmcm Out Of The Brooder

    28
    1
    34
    May 7, 2008
    Hi there,
    I have a white chinese and an african - both just under a year old. The white chinese has been laying since last fall (she layed all winter) and the african (much to our surprise - we thought it was a male) began laying a couple of weeks ago. Before the african started laying they stayed together most of the time, but once the african started laying they really seemed to need their own space more.

    The odd thing is, just this morning I saw them out in the shallow pond we have for them, trying to mate. First the white chinese was on top (facing forwards and backwards at different times) and was pulling on the africans neck, then the african got on top for a while. The only other time I saw them trying to mate was in the fall and the african was on top - that's why we assumed it was a male.

    Is this common in the first year? Are they just confused and trying to get the hang of everything?

    Thanks in advance for any comments.

    Carol
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,173
    5,986
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Very common behavior. More of a dominance thing than mating thing.
     
  3. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Perhaps, but not necessarily.
     
  4. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    43,515
    472
    486
    Dec 22, 2009
    It can be related to dominance but Geese form very strong pairs. Pairs can consist of a Gander and Goose, 2 Ganders, or 2 Geese. Gender doesn't seem to matter to geese very much. If you add a male it would most likely break up the pairing but not always.
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,173
    5,986
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I see my muscovy girls doing the mating thing in the pool quite a bit. Always thought it was a dominance thing since I have 2 drakes for the mating part.
     
  6. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    4,256
    36
    274
    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    i'm not sure about geese, but my ducks do that all the time in their pool. i have all females, and they take turns being on top. The one on the bottom submits by flattening out like a pontoon boat with her tail up, so it doesn't appear to be a dominance thing.
     
  7. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sometimes animals do things simply because they feel good. And that's about all I'll say on that.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Country Parson

    Country Parson Chillin' With My Peeps

    301
    7
    111
    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    It is very much a dominance thing, but that doesn't rule out that they are naturally acting out on a pairing instinct. Both issues are at play, along with the natural mating instinct. My neighbor runs a dairy operation (no bulls, just cows), and the cows will sometimes mock-mate. This is true of most animals. Some people politicize this or make it into something its not. That may play well on a day time talk show, but it is unsound zoology. It is simple a case of animals who lack cognitive abilities acting out on several natural instincts. God's creation is a beautiful thing. Keep in mind that confinement may change an animals behavior, but it doesn't change their natural instincts. So, when you confine two female geese together, their natural instinct to pair, mate, and dominate are still operational.
     
  9. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    How does one determine that a reciprocal action is based on dominance? In other words, if the behavior isn't consistently unidirectional, then if it's about dominance, the dominant individual keeps changing. This is why the "dominance" explanation falls apart. They just do because of the intrinsic motivation derived from anticipating the physical reward of pleasure -- the same reason they do it when they are an opposite-sex pair.

    Oh, and geese do not "lack cognitive abilities." Any animal with a brain has some level of "cognitive ability."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_cognition
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  10. Country Parson

    Country Parson Chillin' With My Peeps

    301
    7
    111
    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    Of course Geese have SOME cognitive ability...as does anything with a brain and spinal cord. The principle point is they that lack the capacity to engage in reason (or, to be precise, 'higher cognition').

    As to dominance, it is not as if that is something that is established at a fix point in time and then set for all eternity. Its a continual instinct, which does change. At the very least there is a continual attempt at change and vying to be the dominate organism. Also, I never claimed dominance was THE only instinct at play...only that it was one of several instincts that was continually operational, including the mating instict (amomg others). Thus I've already conceded to your point about "pleasure" (actually, to be precise pleasure is strictly a function of higher cognition as it requires the ability to assign value, but I get your point and it is probably not incorrect to view this through a grid of pain/pleasure, which is why I also mentioned the mating instinct. That is actually is a bit broader and encompasses the drive for pleasure as well as the instinct to reproduce. It is debated if this can even be separated in lower cognitive animals, though I would suggest it is an ultimately pointless distijction and I'm not aware of any serious ornithologist who is pursuing that line of study. But to deny that dominance plays any role is to deny every observable fact we've learned about animal behavior over the last 200 years. I am not aware of a single ornithologist that would deny this. Scientists would see both the sex drive and the dominance instinct as being "secondary mechanisms" (i.e. neither are the principle issue).

    Ornithologists that specialize in geese would put this through a grid. First, what are the mechanical issue (what is the stimuli causing the response)? Physiological, neuro, social, etc. Second, are there any ontogenical issues (issues related to aging and/or the development of an organism), in this case the emergence of the sex drive and other enviromental factors, among other things. Third, what phylogenical issues are there? (i.e. Issues related to the natural development of the species, which would be the discussion of "instincts" above). Fourth is the issue of adaptation (sociobiologists would right see the drive for survival as the "ultimate aim" of all animal behavior). Hence, in this given circumstance, what behavior will the geese need to exhibit to "survive", which is considered the "principle mechanism" (I realize from our perspective they are not trying to stay alive. "Survival" from a biology perspective has more to do with "flourishing" and "stability").

    Thus, the principle point is that several instincts are at play, and the geese are naturally acting on those instincts as best they can to achieve the most stable state possible in a given setting.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by