Havoc since Boss was Killed


13 Years
Jul 9, 2009
As if it wasn't bad enough that Boss was killed by a predator.....

I have 8 of my original goslings ( all now grown up ) 5 Toulouse and 3 Embden and they have been fighting.... it is awful, I am aware that it is Spring and they are more aggressive and one way or another a new leader has to emerge - I went to the goose compound yesterday morning to find the Embden male bloodied and cowering in a corner - he had been badly beaten - he has been isolated since - the Toulouse males will not let him anywhere near the flock - he is subdued and I feel so sorry for him - the females (Toulouse and Embden) will go to see him in the field but the male Toulouse are relentless in their attack(s) on him if he is anywhere near where they wish to roam.

Tonight he is in a separate enclosure, I put an Embden female in with him for company.

An hour after I had isolated him and his female I could hear a lot of noise from the goose compound - the Toulouse were attacking the only female Embden that was with them - we took her away from them and put her in with the other two Embden for safety - they are all fine together tonight....

Help! - advice needed here from anyone experienced in goose behaviour

Do I cull the most aggressive Toulouse Male?

Cull the 3 Embden?

Any advice would be appreciated - I can't stand bullying between my animals... will this aggression end in a few weeks when the breeding season ends ? - if so, I can keep them separated at night.

I am in tears again, not knowing what to do for the best - if only Boss were here.....!

What is your male/female ratio? Too many males is always going be tough on the females as well as with each other. I had 3 tom turkeys, raised together from poults, and had to rehome 1 for over aggresive fighting. You may have to rehome some males. So sorry you are dealing with yet another stressful situation.
I can only suggest, you have to decide.
Being French you must know that it often means war when the old King(Boss) dies or is dethrowned. The eldest son usually gets the job but if they are all about the same age war can break out and even new kingdoms started. Sounds like you have two kingdoms Embden and Toulouse at the moment with the strongest Toulouse being the most likely to reunite the flock. If you get rid of him there is bound to be a struggle between the remaining males. The only real question in my mind is did the strong toulouse beat the Embden by himself or did the toulouse gang up on him?
The 3 Embden could form a nice family unit if the toulouse allow it but as they seem to be short females so may raid the embdrm flock for the females if the flock allows it. The toulouse may take another week to sort themselves out and set up a pecking order, there is a good chance that all all the Embden find themselves at the bottom of the order and slaves to the rest. Could you live with a Belgium like country where the French and Dutch live together but don't really get along at times of stress such as mating season? To me that sounds like where you are headed. It could be Ireland also where the war never really ends but is peacefull appearing when English troups (You ) are closly supervising and jailing the offenders.
It sounds like I am having fun at Europe's expense but I coulld have used the USA since the Civil War just as well. Any prediction can be wrong, and this is just my guess based on your war reports. Pecking order is real and there are going to be some fights until it reaches a short term stability. I wish I could be of more help, ~gd
Thanks for your responses chickensioux and Goosedragon

The conflict is between three Toulouse Males and the male Embden - ther are ten of them altogether, 3 Embden and the others are Toulouse.

Although I feel sorry for the defeated Embden male, I prefer the Toulouse as a breed, normally they are less aggressive but it is Spring and some of their behaviour is predictable I suppose - I did have an aggressive male Embden which was eaten by my neighbours at Christmas - they did comment that he was very tasty too.

I wasn't privvy to the conflict between the male Embden and Toulouse - it appears that the three male Toulouse are being particulary aggressive at the moment and they are chasing ducks, geese and chickens away from wherever they wish to venture.

All of the Geese are the same age - all purchased at the same time and Boss a year older and their guardian.

Do I have too many males? bearing in mind that I have more females than males, they were all happy together until the demise of Boss and I was expecting some conflict but I did not expect the aggression that is apparent now - naive I may be.......!

Today it has been relatively peaceful here - the male Embden went up river with a female and stayed away until this evening at dusk - he was happy to go into his new accommodation with his female after the Toulouse went into the stables with the otehr female Embden - just checked on her with he Toulouse and she is fine with them tonight.

Goosedragon - for my sins I am born and bred English - I live in France by choice, luckily we have some great neighbours and friends here - they think I am crazy when I call my flock in at night by their individual names - that is of course if they are not quacking and clucking at the doors to go inside themselves.

I have decided that I will give another week or so to see what happens further - the Embden is defeated and he knows it, it reminds me of your comment about your Geese having conflict and the defeated one looking after ducks after.

Wish me luck!

p.s. Goosedragon - Your comments about war between nations was enlightening and so very true - hopefully the Auvergne will survive it's war within our homestead!!!

I consider geese chasing ducks out of the way to be perfectly normal. Usually it is about 3 goose steps and the goose gives up or doesn't want to chase anymore. For those occasions where the goose is really mad I have a few "hide holes" scattered about with entrances that a duck can enter fast but are too small for the geese. The biggest troublemakers I have had were called Australian Spotted ducks (an American made breed, not common yet) I don't know what went into them but they were fearless and fiesty. Bigger than a Call but smaller than domestic Mallards they are fast, nimble and can fly. When I first got them as adults they used to sneak up as the geese were busy feeding and yank a tail feather. run or fly away. When I put fresh water in the pools the geese would claim first right to swim or bathe. When the tiny ducks figured it was their turn they would attack a goose from the air. until it got out.
I don't think you have too many males they will eventually work or fight it out with one being the new boss and the others finding their place in the pecking order. They can be slow to realize their place and accept it but they should settle down fairly soon.

Thanks for the advice - I was concerned that I had too many males but I won't cull any at the moment - strangely enough your words are spot on with the Toulouse - there is no outright leader at the moment, I have been spending quite some time today observing them and not one emerges as being a "leader" yet.

The Australian Spotted ducks sound fascinating, I had never heard of them before.... it would be interesting to see them get the better of the geese!

My ducks can escape the geese when they are being chased - usually they hide in the chicken coop and I have even found them in nesting boxes which are reached via a ladder!
Some geese do climb. I had a very nice pair of Pilgrims that I had isolated for the breeding season. They were never apart. After the goose had been brooding for about a week I saw the gander breeding a tufted Roman in another breeding pen. I hid in my house and watched He climbed that welded wire fence like a one armed man with the arm being his neck and bill, got to the top and just flopped and fell outside the pen went, to his pen and did the same thing to get back in. I netted his pen the same day but the damage had been done. goslings included tufted "normals"grey tuffted and some with no tuff at all. I sold them for eating.

That is amazing about the gander climbing.... I am learning a lot about geese that I would never have thought possible!

Still no outright leader is emerging between the Toulouse, the Embden gander is looking better despite his beating although he shakes his head frequently, he did get a nasty cut near one of his eyes which is healing nicely but I am watching him closely, he appears to have vision in the eye but this action of shaking his head is of concern - if he doesn't improve in a few days I may have to consider his demise - hopefully not...!
I have seen one eyed geese, they have such wide vision that you notice they tend to turn their head to the side to move amd they lack depth views. You do have water in a container that he can dip his whole head into? If not try that.

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