Is my gander just testing his boundaries?

Discussion in 'Geese' started by BullCreek, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. BullCreek

    BullCreek Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Pacific NW
    My guy has decided that our gander is a complete jerk, but I don't agree. Thought I'd run my theory by the super-wise goose folks on this forum. [​IMG]

    Sweet Boy hasn't been very sweet since about the two month mark. He is currently going on four month old. Over the last couple months, he's become quite standoffish. Doesn't want to be touched or approached. Two of our females are quite sweet, and one is slightly standoffish. Over the last couple weeks, it seems that the gander has been testing his boundaries... Seeing what he can get away with. It started with the occasional hiss through the fence, though he'd stop right quick and come running if he saw we had treats. Now, it's nearly daily that he hisses at one of us through the fence. One minute, he's gently eating grass from our hands, and the next, he tries to stick his head through the fence and bite. The funny thing is, if I loudly tell him NO or hiss back, he stops immediately. Also, he doesn't do anything aggressive if I'm in the yard with them (much braver when there's a fence between us... Lol). My theory is that he's seeing what he can get away with, and trying to be the bigger, meaner goose. Especially since he gives up when I don't put up with his attitude.

    What do you think? Is my gander just a "jerk", or is he trying to fit us into his goosey pecking order?
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Not a "jerk"! He's just a normal gander feeling the impact of testosterone. This behavior may escalate, but don't let him get away with thinking that he's the boss-- or next spring he'll be a nightmare.
  3. BullCreek

    BullCreek Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Pacific NW
    Quote:Exactly what I keep telling my guy about Sweet Boy. [​IMG] Considering that I'm the one who has to clean the pen, water, etc, I'm definitely not gonna let this gander get too uppity. Lol.
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I think (for what THAT's worth, having like ZIPPO experience with this) that you need to treat a goose/gander/gosling EXACTLY like you would a puppy or dog. They're both social animals with a set hierarchy within the family/group. You need to establish and then reinforce that YOU are the "leader" of the pack/flock. They will test your limits to see what they can get away with -- the less they get away with, the better for everyone. Probably just as with a dog, once they accept you as the leader, they may test you once in a while, but overall, they probably won't be much trouble after that.

    At least, that's my theory, and I'm working on that approach with my 3. I make sure they do what I want them to do, not what they want. And, if I do something they decide they don't like at that moment, like pick them up, tough, I call the shots. Worked with my dogs. Should work with geese.
  5. Goosehaven

    Goosehaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2010
    All the behaviors he's showing are normal for ganders. I've got some ganders who are downright meaner than hornets, especially in the late winter, early spring during mating season and others that just hiss but run away if you go at them. I've raised all but one from hatching and it doesn't make a bit of difference to them once their hormones kick in. In the mating season I have to carry a small broom around with me as I'm doing the chores and they leave me alone then [​IMG] I've learned to read their body language and looks they give me and know when to watch out, although the occasional attack to my legs happen when I turn my back [​IMG] I still love all of them irregardless. Enjoy your geese!
  6. I think the gander is just trying to figure things out . . . and they are trainable, not like most roosters! I think there's some good threads on making sure the ganders know who is boss. I plan on reading them. Right now, my two toulouse are a year old and when we bought them a couple months ago, they hissed at everyone, but didn't do anything else. Now that they have gotten to know us a bit, they only hiss at strangers, and at the barn cats. They've gotten used to our dog, but if he acts weird or is too close he gets the snakey neck treatment.

    Now, I have 3 American Buff goslings that will be 10 weeks old on the 4th, and another 4 who will be 8 weeks old, and I am interested to see if they also start hissing at strangers as they get older, or if it is part of their personality not to as much. So far, my buff geese haven't hissed at anyone - even new people -- they have conversations with each other about EVERYTHING - but I haven't seen a lot of aggression. They are so big it is hard to remember they are not even 3 months old yet. I am hopeful that it will continue, but I am not going to tolerate them hissing at me through the fence or in the yard . . . I will be using NO, and catching geese if I have to, to explain who is boss . . . I would not tolerate the hissing at you through the fence, since he wasn't before - I think people have said to say NO in a loud voice, and keep making loud sounds while advancing toward them so they have to give ground up . . . there was a whole thread about teaching your geese and I've been rereading it to see what I can teach mine . . .

    I am prepared to have the geese a) separate from my chickens and ducks during breeding season and b) I'm going to be the only one feeding them, just to be safe. It will be a lot of work, but I don't want the kiddos to get hurt . . .

    I do love my geese and I just find having them around to be so much fun! I'm glad your girls like you -- my friendly ones are two ganders - I think - but it is hard to tell yet until they start breeding in the spring.
  7. toadbriar

    toadbriar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2010
    central massacheezits
    My trio of American Buffs were hatched March 16. They've only hissed at the bouncy baby goat, when she tries too enthusiastically to play with them. We have folks by all the time, and the geese free-ranging with the ducks during the day. They come up to see who's visiting, talk to the visitors and get fussed over as we sit by the pond. They're so much more people-oriented than ducks I raised identically. It's incredible. The gander behaviors I'm reading about here are completely foreign to my experience with these three (1 gander 2 geese). Mine like to nibble at hair and clothes and shoelaces, but do so gently. I don't really feed treats except throw things on the ground to the ducks and geese as a flock. Even as babies in the brooder I might put some melon or kale on the floor but if I want to hand feed someone, it's more rewarding if I can coax my shyest drake over, than a goose who's already up my nose half the time and trying to drag my gloves into the pond the other half the time.

    BullCreek what breed is your gander?
  8. BullCreek

    BullCreek Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Pacific NW
    Quote:He's a Toulouse. We've snagged him and held him a couple times when he pulled 'tude, and it seems to have calmed him down a bit. We're pretty much trying to show him that he isn't the boss around here. [​IMG]

    I've even witnessed my African go after him a couple times when he's been a brat. She's my sweetest girl, and I think she's not impressed with his attitude. [​IMG]

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