Gander with rather strange behavior.

Discussion in 'Geese' started by Tevyes Dad, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Hi Everybody, This is my first post on the Geese forum, I am usually in ducks. I have a bunch of ducks, but no geese. But today, my wife and I went to the fairgrounds to feed the ducks and geese (we feed them all-flock and sometimes bring the geese lettuce extra). When we were done, we walked along the fence back toward our car. We were approached by what I think, judging by the longer neck and slight undercarriage, was a White Chinese gander. He looked to be in fairly good shape. My wife knelt down by the fence and he walked right up to her and honked every 20 seconds or so and just stood there looking at her. less that a foot and a half away from him was one of the piles of all flock we had poured inside the fence, so if he was hungry, he could have eaten out of that pile. Instead he just looked at my wife and periodically honked. He did not put on a defensive or offensive display and he was at the same time, very calm and very intense. My wife rubbed his bill a bit with her finger and he let her. Sometimes he nibbled at her finger, but again not aggressively. Then she scratched his chest and he let her. While he was getting his chest scratched, he stopped honking so much and just looked at her. This went on for quite a few minutes. I honestly believe that if there was no fence there he would have sat in her lap. Finally we got up and went back to the car. He followed along the fence and kept honking and after we loaded up the car, my wife walked back up to the fence. I swear he not only met her, but put his chest right against the fence so she could scratch it a little more. Then we left.

    [​IMG]

    These pictures are in order and cover about 7 seconds. But you can see the goose is aware and accepting of the contact and from the fact that it greatly reduced its honking, I would even guess it enjoyed the contact. We had not at anytime today directly fed this goose and none of the waterfowl were near the food piles when we made them.

    Now I know that this isn't a "wild" gander indigenous to Montana, but unless he was dropped off yesterday, I would think that he would act more like.... all the other non-Canada geese that are there. Begging for food but otherwise somewhat wary of people. So my guess is that he was raised in a home as a solitary bird so he imprinted not only on his parents (who are long gone), but identified as a human since he didn't have any siblings to grow up with to identify as a goose. This means that my wife was "his kind" and the goose in the background was some other non-threatening animal he could get along with. Does this seem right to any of you goose people, or is there another explanation that makes sense to you? I am by no means any expert (I don't know if I got the breed right, let alone the gender or understand the behavior at all.) We are considering adding geese to our little family in a year or two, and I am trying to understand the similarities and differences between them and ducks and learn as much as I can before this time comes. [​IMG] So please let me benefit from all your experience and tell me where I am right, wrong or just silly. Thanks in advance [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I would guess that you are correct in your guess that he is a human imprinted goose - very likely raised by someone with the build or general appearance of your wife. The big question is how did he end up abandoned?
     
  3. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Unfortunately, that usually isn't much of a question. Same as the other geese/ducks that aren't wild that are at the pond... Someone thinks the goslings/ducklings are cute in the feed store and buys them for their kids, their significant other or themselves and doesn't realize the level of commitment it takes and after a couple of months when they go from fluff balls to poop machines, they decide they would be "better off" at the local pond. I would think that most responsible owners who had extenuating circumstances would re-home their birds rather than toss them in a pond so the above probably applies most of them time. [​IMG]
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    There's a small pond by the local Home Depot. A large flock of Canada geese uses it as a 'roosting' place. Several years ago someone dumped an Embden gander there. He was eventually able (once he lost weight) to fly over the fence into a neighboring field where the Canada's would go to graze. Every 2 or 3 days I would take him some corn as a supplement. Eventually he was hit and killed by a car. I would guess that such dumped birds have a limited life span.
     
  5. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Unfortunately you are correct. When we go to the pond, we make very obvious our bag of All-flock, and if anyone shows some interest, we will try to educate people, but unfortunately most of the people who go to public ponds will feed the birds bread, crackers and potato chips. For the birds who can fly, this is an unhealthy addition to their foraged diet, but for the birds that can't, this is most of their diet. If a predator doesn't get them, their diet will. If that Embden was that light, he probably wasn't very strong so he probably couldn't fly too far. Poor guy. I am glad you at least brought him some reasonable food.
     
  6. cogoose

    cogoose Out Of The Brooder

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    If I lived there, I would take him. :/
    Geese are just awesome and need love if they were domestic at one time.
     
  7. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Unfortunately, he is behind a 6' fence and this is posted no trespassing, no harming or harassing the waterfowl. So "taking" him isn't really an option. It may be possible to adopt the goose, but we would have to quarantine him alone for the safety of our ducks while he had a competent veterinary exam. Our vet is somewhat versed in poultry, but still has to look up quite a bit. I would trust them to find and prescribe an antibiotic for a specific known problem, but not necessarily be able to clear a goose as safe to intermingle with our duck family and our first priority is the ducks we already have.
     
  8. The goose girl

    The goose girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, that poor, lonely gander. I'm sure you're right about him being a dumped, human imprinted goose. I guess your wife must have reminded him of someone he knew.

    I've had my goose since the day she hatched and she thinks of humans as her flock. She's usually a bit wary of people she doesn't know, but sometimes she takes an instant liking to a complete stranger. It actually happened yesterday. I was visiting a friend and I'd brought the goose - she loves company. We'd been there for a good hour when my friend's son arrived, and within a couple of minutes the goose appeared glued to his side. She's never seen him before, but I couldn't lure her away from him - I actually had to pick her up and carry her out when we left. He didn't really pay attention to her, so I'm thinking his calm manner and perhaps his voice must have triggered the response in her. It was remarkable.
     
  9. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Sigh! It matched up with what I had read, but I kind of hoped that I was over thinking the situation and those of you with actual goose experience would say, "Ah, he was just being friendly..." I think he was genuinely longing for company of "his own kind" and thought that we were that. Even when both of us were standing fully erect right next to the fence, he was right there and he wasn't begging for food [​IMG] What a lonely existence that must be. [​IMG]Well, from now on, we will at least keep an eye out for him when we go out there. If it was a fluke, we probably won't see/recognize him (there are other White Chinese there), but if that is his lot, we will try to give him a little more attention when he comes to visit us so he can have some happiness in his life.

    I know in this forum, ranting on responsibility is speaking to the choir, so I won't. But it is so sad when you comprehend the impact we can have on another animal like this. This has just furthered my resolve to get all my ducks in line (pun not really intended) before I get my own geese. I will have everything as right as possible for them before we take that plunge. And I will certainly get at least two so they will know they are geese. So if something should happen to us and we have to re-home them or our survivors have to re-home them (never dump them at a pond), they can enjoy the company of other geese without thinking they are alone in the world.
     
  10. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    I went back today during lunch. I am pretty sure I saw him and the goose that is standing behind him in the picture (so maybe he does have a friend) sleeping on the far shore of the pond so no interaction today.
     

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