Female goose using neck to push other goose's neck down to feed?

Willowfield

In the Brooder
Mar 19, 2018
23
43
44
Aghadowey, Northern Ireland
I have 2 female domestic geese left (after the male, Lancelot, died), Bella & Betsy. They are coping well and Betsy (Lancelot's favourite) is now encouraging Bella to try the pond that Lancelot had largely kept her from - she's dipped in twice now.
They are so sweet together and are starting to tolerate me more - less hissing, and they're wandering closer to the house. However, I noticed some odd behaviour and haven't been able to find any reference to it online, so hope someone here can shed some light on it please?
Bella & Betsy were together on the lawn this morning, standing still, close to each other, then Betsy put her neck around Bella's neck. I initially thought she was tucking her head under Bella's wings to sleep, but what she actually did was to use her neck to push Bella's neck down towards the ground and Bella lowered her neck and head and started nibbling the grass! Then she let her be. She did this several times, sometimes Bella would feed and sometimes she wouldn't. Then they wandered off grazing. There was no aggression or anything vocal either.
Any ideas?
 

Willowfield

In the Brooder
Mar 19, 2018
23
43
44
Aghadowey, Northern Ireland
Sounds like dominating behavior. My guess is they will need to reaffirm the pecking order after losing the gander.
Thanks, yes that makes sense, though it really seemed she was being very caring, no aggression at all. She was very gentle and it was like she was just encouraging Bella to eat the grass. She also seemed to encourage her to get in the pond. I'd like to think she is being motherly, maybe broody and with no gander is directing her caring nature towards her?
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
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Mountains of Western N.C.
It could be affection. I see my 2 geese showing affection to each other so maybe with your gander not there that is what is being shown.
Putting neck over head can be a sign of affection also.

So sorry you lost your gander. Geese are so attached to one another I am sure your females are mourning their loss.
 

Willowfield

In the Brooder
Mar 19, 2018
23
43
44
Aghadowey, Northern Ireland
It could be affection. I see my 2 geese showing affection to each other so maybe with your gander not there that is what is being shown.
Putting neck over head can be a sign of affection also.

So sorry you lost your gander. Geese are so attached to one another I am sure your females are mourning their loss.
Thank you, yes I hope it is affection. I had been given the gander Lancelot with his mate Guinevere but she died and he was absolutely forlorn, calling and searching for her, not eating and making the most heart breaking wee sounds to me when I talked tom him. So I got the 2 females for him. When he died from an infection a few weeks ago I was worried how they would react, especially Betsy who was his mate/favourite. However, i needn't have worried, they didn't skip a beat! I think it's because they have each other so the loss is lessened for them.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
117,513
139,121
1,962
Mountains of Western N.C.
Yes much worse if one had been left alone. I think my gander would be destroyed if he lost his mate. Her too probably if it was him that went.

Best to keep an eye on these 2 they should bond really closely and hopefully won't be any dominance that would amount to anything between them. Also you may see some mating act out between them which is totally natural also. Females do this to each other if there isn't a gander or drake around a lot of times even if there are.
 

Willowfield

In the Brooder
Mar 19, 2018
23
43
44
Aghadowey, Northern Ireland
Yes much worse if one had been left alone. I think my gander would be destroyed if he lost his mate. Her too probably if it was him that went.

Best to keep an eye on these 2 they should bond really closely and hopefully won't be any dominance that would amount to anything between them. Also you may see some mating act out between them which is totally natural also. Females do this to each other if there isn't a gander or drake around a lot of times even if there are.
Thanks. Actually that's interesting cos when Betsy was using her neck to push down Bella's she also looked like she was trying to climb onto her a little. Then what did I find today - an egg! Betsy has laid an egg, her first here and possibly her first ever as I don't know how old she is. Bella seems older and she isn't showing nesting signs yet. I'll keep an eye on them both. They do seem very attached to each other. I don't want to get another gander that may upset the harmony as when Lancelot was here Bella was very much left out and usually pushed away. It's good to know about the mating acting out being normal as I may have worried about that. Thank you so much for your help.
 

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