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For anyone thinking of getting a housegoose...

Discussion in 'Geese' started by lovesgliders, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. lovesgliders

    lovesgliders Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't do it. Seriously.

    I know. Goslings are irresistible. They always want to snuggle and be with you, and they will follow you anywhere. You will see photos and websites online telling you that geese will imprint on you and make wonderful housepets. Well, I call baloney on all of it. I am lucky that Sushi and I's story ended as well as it did.

    I got Sushi in March 2012. She is a brown Chinese goose. She was my first gosling ever and I quickly fell in love, as did my husband, and whole family. I wanted her to bond fully with us so I brooded her alone, though make no mistake about it, I wasn't working at the time and I have no human kids, and so Sushi spent most of her time with me.

    I doted on her like you wouldn't believe. She got the best of everything. I let her swim in the tub every day, I made sure she got outside for hours every day to run around and eat grass. She also had the run of the house and wore her diaper. For a few weeks, it was pretty magical (constant diaper changing aside).

    I did everything "right" (for a housegoose) but Sushi knew something was wrong. By five weeks I had a holy terror on my hands as she began to lash out at us. She alternated between extreme aggression and heartbreaking fear. Granted, this was my first goose, but I really think she lost her mind. She attacked everything, including my huge dogs, and the very walls in the house. Then she would bolt, screaming, like they attacked back (they never did, which is especially obvious regarding the walls).

    I gently tried to correct her, but it only either made her more angry or more fearful. I never hurt her but I would say "no bite" or give her a time-out or gently hold her bill shut for a moment. Never worked. Not even a little bit.

    By ten weeks, she had only gotten worse, and she was bigger so her bites hurt much more, and this is the point where most people would find a home for her. Honestly it did cross my mind, as it was so overwhelming to try to comfort an animal that is so lonely and wants to be with you, but also resents you and is afraid of you. But in the end we couldn't do it. Though she was terribly aggressive to our duck flock, we began to give Sushi more and more time with them. It didn't take long (maybe two days) for something in her head to click: "I am a bird. I am meant to be with a flock. I am meant to live outdoors."

    At that point, she went with the ducks and didn't look back. Once she stopped chasing them, they accepted her as one of their own.

    For two months, we couldn't get near her, or even touch her. But she was happy with the ducks and so I let her be. It was very hard for me, as I missed her, but I had to put my own selfishness aside. At that point I was just glad that we had found a way to keep her, and for her to be happy (ex-housegeese don't always fare so well).

    Once she matured, she seemed to get her brain back. She began to slowly approach us. We were no longer mom and dad but she was fond of us and the lettuce we brought her.

    Now, a year later, she is the least aggressive goose in the world, which is such a relief to me. I am so grateful that I did not "ruin" her. She will announce strangers that come over but she has never hissed or put the chase to anyone. She is fine with being pet and held by us, and when I hold her I can put my face right up to hers and she will talk to me. No biting at all. She seems very happy, and she has done an invaluable service to us by protecting our duck flock from the raptors that have decimated our chicken flock.

    And now, a year later, I have come full circle and am getting a few Sebastopol goslings. These will be brooded indoors but will be raised with other goslings and moved out promptly. There will be no mistaken identity, no diapering, no coddling these ones. Well, OK, I am probably going to snuggle them a bit, but my life will not revolve around them like it did Sushi, and I will not try to train them in any way. They will just be free to be geese. That is the way it is supposed to be.

    I took the time to write this to hopefully save someone the heartbreak that Sushi and I (and my husband) went through. You get so very attached to them but it's just not feasible for 99.999% of people to keep them as housepets. (The diapering alone is a full-time job!) Let them outdoors, let them be who they were born to be. You will still have a very nice pet. If you are kind to them, they will respond. Sushi loves to be pet and to talk to me, but she no longer falls to pieces when I leave, because she is a secure and independent individual. How cruel would it have been to keep her attached to me but go back to working 8-10 hour days? Geese want to be with their mates and flock 24/7. They don't understand that you have to work. I am so glad Sushi has the ducks, and I hope that she likes the new Seb goslings, too, so I don't have to build another pen. (I honestly think she will, because she realizes she is a goose now!)

    [​IMG]
    then

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    and now
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Iain Utah

    Iain Utah Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    X2!! and she was a beautiful gosling and is now a beautiful Goose.
     
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks for this post.

    I always advise people not to get a house goose or duck.

    They are all very cute as chicks, but when they mature they are not suitable to live in a home. They are all much happier in an outdoor environment, with lots of water to swim in, dirty to play in, and fresh air and sunshine - as well as companions to live with.

    I am sure there are book saying that horses, ponies or cows can be kept as a house pet - I would not fancy changing a cow diaper!
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. Going Bhonkers

    Going Bhonkers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    EXCELLENT POST
     
  7. Narragansett

    Narragansett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It just baffles me how anyone could think to keep any species of poultry in the house, diaper or not. It's completely against their nature, it doesn't fulfill their need to be part of a flock, and it's unsanitary. I've turned a few people in to their local health department because of it. Every one was ordered to remove the birds from the house. One even had to deal with concerns that her children were exposed to an unhealthy environment. This practice also puts the fancy in a poor light. Serious breeders need to do all they can to discourage it. It makes us all look like emotionally retarded kooks. Hatching eggs in the basement is one thing. Keeping livestock as "pets" in your own living quarters is quite another.
     
  8. Tivona

    Tivona Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very nice post.
     
  9. The goose girl

    The goose girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great post! [​IMG]

    I raised an indoor gosling, and it was hard work - really hard work. When I say indoor, I don't mean 24/7, as we would spend many hours outside every day. As she grew older, she ventured outside on her own more and more, but even as an adult she occasionally wanted to spend a night in the house, and she paid me visits several times every day. Sometimes she'd just come in for a nap, other times she wanted to tell me it was time to take her for a walk.

    For the first four or five months she was never left alone, not even for a minute. If I had to go somewhere, I took her to her goosesitter, who then kept her company. I wish I'd had a camera handy one time I came to pick her up: Her goosesitter was shivering under an umbrella in the pouring rain, and the goose was happily bathing in her tub. She clearly enjoyed it. The goosesitter - not so much. [​IMG] But the goose wanted to bathe, so he had to keep her company.

    My goose was never aggressive, but all goslings go through a biting period of several months. They investigate everything by incessantly chewing it. Goslings (and grown geese) easily get bored if there's nothing to do, and the inside of a house doesn't provide much goose rated entertainment. My goose loved groups of people and always wanted to join when she heard my neighbors talking. Luckily I have great neighbors who adored when she came over to visit them.

    I would never recommend keeping a goose as an indoor house pet. And raising a single gosling is a huge undertaking - you have to put the goose first in everything you do. I had had goslings before, so I thought I knew what it took. But living it was much harder than I'd ever imagined. Like the difference between peek-a-booing someone elses baby for a few minutes and having your own baby.
     
    1 person likes this.

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