My 3 Pet Geese...Sweetness, Fights and Bullying [with pics]

Discussion in 'Geese' started by StephieC, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. StephieC

    StephieC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2012
    Hi everybody,

    I'm a newbie at keeping geese and we acquired 3 goslings at the end of June this year.
    We were unsure of the exact age when they first arrived, probably around 10 weeks-ish
    they were just some fluffy little things and now they've grown to pretty pretty big birdies

    So first let me introduce them to you all
    G = Guardian
    M = Milk
    S = Sugar

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    This is them taking a nap by our front door (about two weeks ago) [​IMG]
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    Having a little stroll [​IMG]
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    When we first got them, we were told that Guardian was the boy, while Milk and Sugar are the girls
    I named the girls Milk and Sugar and my mother named the boy Guardian. When they first arrived, they were all utterly terrified of us and everytime we appeared they would run screaming (literally) to the further point of the garden and huddle together in the corner with their heads buried in amongst all the fluff. If we got any closer, the two girls would hide behind Guardian and he would try to block them to keep them safe, hence the name Guardian.

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    This is the second day after they arrived [​IMG]
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    This is Sugar after we've had them for a week, she was wiggling her "wings" [​IMG]
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    My mother had a Chinese when she was young and she was always telling us her fond memories of a very smart little creature.
    It was her idea to have these 3 geese but it is mainly up to me to take care of them.
    I read the books by Chris Ashton and as much info as I could find online
    For about 2 weeks they were very "depressed". I guess they really missed they goose-mama and they were simply scared to bits to have been thrown into this new environment with a bunch of total strangers.
    We were told by the seller that the geese on the farm they came from were not so used to human contact and they were mostly just left alone to roam free on the land.
    It was way too late to even think about 'imprinting' them, and I was desperately trying to lessen their fear and hope they would settle down soon.

    So every morning, I feed them and I squat down, at a distance at first, to watch them eat and I would talk to them and make lots of "meek meek meek" sound (my attempt to sound like a gosling). Then day by day, I "discreetly" move closer when they eat and I would stop whenever they notice I got closer. Gradually, they got used to me being there and they would lift their heads up when I call for them (I just call out "kiddies~~~" as a collective name for them). One day when I was scooping up their poo, Guardian slowly came up to me and went "meek meek meek", "meek meek meek meek", like he was talking to me. I "talked" back and he really seemed to enjoy that. Then Milk and Sugar also warmed up to me little by little.

    Then about a month or so, Guardian began to develop some sense of territory and started to chase people away with his low out-stretched neck and hiss hiss hiss. Milk and Sugar would hiss at strangers too and sometimes Sugar would try to charge at people too. But they are never aggressive toward me and my sister. Everytime we come out to see them, they would honk and come running over to us. When we have to go out, they would honk honk honk to protest; then honk honk honk again when we come back as if saying "Where've you been? What took you so long?"


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    This is just over a month since they arrived. Guardian is super photogenic and loves to pose for photos (with proof) [​IMG]
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    Guardian posing for photo again [​IMG]
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    The above pic is one of my favourite. It is a perfect demonstration of their personality.
    Guardian is the boss. He's the tallest and the biggest, he is the closest to me and very clingy as well. When I play with them, he'd come and peck me very gently to get my attention, so that I would play with him more. He's also the one who likes to chase people and try to bite them if he can. Guardian lets me cuddle him and kiss him on the cheeks and I've had two very wet "frenchies" from him too, haha~
    Milk was the second in size when they first arrived, but as time went on Sugar began to out-grow her and so Milk is now the shortest in the bunch. I think it's becoz she has shorter legs than the others. Milk hissed the most when they first arrived but she gradually became the most timid and gentle one. She never fights with the others when we feed them treats but just stand eagerly behind the other two, waiting for her turn. Sugar likes to bully her very much but Milk never seems to mind. She would occasionally let me hold her too but not all the time.
    Now Sugar is the....how should I put it....the "mean girl". She is always pushing Milk around and trying her limits with Guardian. When she bullies Milk, Milk would just shy away; but Guardian would get his own revenge. She once had a piece of string caught and tangled around her bill and with help, I managed to free the string. After that, she let me cuddle her once the day after, but other than that she never lets anyone touch her or hold her. Whenever we have to catch her to put her in the pen, she would scream as if we're gonna chop her into million tiny pieces. As soon as she does that, Guardian would come running to her rescue and voice his disapproval, though he would never actually attack.


    By this point, are you guys all bored to bits yet?
    Let's try & cheer things up a bit with a video clip I took just two days ago


    So here comes the climax of the story. For a little while now, Milk has gradually become more and more timid. The other two always make her go away when they get their breakfast and supper in the bowl. So much so that she barely eats anything from the bowl now, while the other two just gobbled it all down. I've started feeding her separately but the other two kept coming over to steal from her share. This morning, I tried to isolate her in the pen so that she could eat in peace, but she would not touch her food when the other two were not in the immediate vicinity of the pen. When I finally got her to start eating, she ate her corn and pellets ONE BY ONE ( I swear!!). Took me like an hour of continuous persuasion to get her to finish all of her food.
    After I let her back out, she seemed really scared of me and kept running away from me [​IMG]

    As for the fighting...
    Yesterday, I heard screamings from the garden and I looked out the window...I saw Guardian with his bill on Sugar's neck and the two of them running around the garden, Sugar screaming (like when we try to catch her/ pick her up) murder. I got out and as soon as I gave a loud firm "NO!", Guardian stopped, with little feathers still stuck on his bill, I caught hold of him, held him to my side and told him off for being so aggressive. I gave him a couple of "slaps" (very gently, about half the strength when you pat someone on his back for encouragement) and he seemed to have gotten the point. He bent his neck down and looked as if he was sorry for what he did. Although, after I let him go, he became scared of me like Milk did this morning and would move away when I get close[​IMG][​IMG]

    Does anyone have any tips regarding such naughty behaviours and how I can build up Milk's confidence again???
    The three little things, they fight and bully each other but when they can't see one of them (if one just happened to be standing behind a bush or the car) they would call out for each other until they are reunited again. It would be quite impossible to separate them but I can't watch them all the hours of the day and I worry about Milk's health if she continues to eat poorly.

    So, please could anyone give me any advice or share their experience??? That would be much much much appreciated [​IMG]

    As promised, proof...


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    Guardian strikes a pose for the camera [​IMG]
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    Always posing...The Next Top Gander Model [​IMG]
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    Curious Sugar [​IMG]
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    I was trying to get a pic of Milk, but Guardian walked into the shot and of course, showing his perfect profile [​IMG]
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    Oh Milk!! There you are [​IMG]
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    My sister holding Milk [​IMG]
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    Guardian...still posing [​IMG]

    Hope you all didn't find my post too tedious and boring [​IMG]
    If anyone can spot their breed and their age and let me know, that would be just awesome~

    Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeers!!
     
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    [​IMG] I've never had much luck training naughty geese but your babies sure are gorgeous!
     
  3. RURU

    RURU Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Hi StephieC and welcome to the forum. I only raise sebastopols so not sure of what your geese are. Someone on here will help you for sure.

    Now you said that one of you geese is picking on another. Usually ganders will fight with other ganders Not females. So you just might have two ganders and one female. The domant gander will pick on the other gander for the female(s). Come breeding season when they are grown the ganders will fight with each other and they can harm each other really bad sometimes can even kill another gander.
    Since you are new to geese you do have to learn that the ganders fight really bad over females. Also your sweet boys turn into very protective guys! They will bite you and it hurts. Just ask any of the geese breeders.


    But good luck with your 3 geese and congrads on your new adventure with geese...
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  4. Going Bhonkers

    Going Bhonkers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Stephie, congrats on your geese [​IMG] They look like Pomeranian geese. What you're describing about Milk & Gaurdian may be mating behavior.... how old did you say they are? Also, do they have a pool to play in? If its not mating behavior, they may need some 'toys' or other distractions to help stop picking one another.

    Dont forget that in a flock, theres a "pecking order" So if Guardian is the leader, then Sugar seems to be next in line and lastly comes Milk. There are privileges to being first & second, the order of who gets to eat first is one of them. Even though Milk is at the bottom, she's still an important part of the flock. I would suggest that you put food in a couple of dishes and spread them out to make sure that the other two dont hog the feed.

    A couple of threads you should check out are:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/685683/pomeranian-goose-breed-thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/561849/geese-training/10 (see post #19 on this one)

    And this answered some of my questions about mating, since this is my first year with geese:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/695804/questions-about-mating
     
  5. StephieC

    StephieC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2012
    Thank you~ Thank you~
    Our neighbours always come around to see them and say how handsome they look, especially Guardian :)
     
  6. StephieC

    StephieC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2012
    Well, I'm pretty sure Guardian is the boy, but it's usually Sugar who tries to start a fight...She'd first try to bully Milk, then have a go at Guardian, only Guardian would put her in her place.
    Guardian is very protective of Sugar but not so much towards Milk...I'm just so confused right now, haha
     
  7. StephieC

    StephieC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2012
    Thanks for all the links, they sure looks like Pomeranians, but I'm thinking they could be mixed with Emden too. Their markings are a bit all over the place :p
    Well, this morning when I put out the morning feed, Guardian and Sugar went straight for it, but unlike before when they used to mop everything up, they kinda lost interest half way and wandered off and started running around. I had a separate portion for Milk but she wouldn't even touch it and just went to follow the other two running around. I gave them apples to test their appetite. They sort of chewed it a bit but then the apple falls out of their mouth like they weren't particularly interested. They are still very active and lively, so I'm not sure of any physical symptoms......
    They have a kids paddling pool, another water tray and a bucket filled with water. I think they are a bit too young for mating to start. I've been thinking about getting them toys but they have a tendency to throw things around and I worry if the toy lands in their poop, and they pick it up to play again, it'll make them sick.
     
  8. 1MrsMagoo

    1MrsMagoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are definitely very pretty Pomeranian mixes of some sort. One of them seems to be developing the distinctive single lobe and they have the basic marking patterns.

    I would agree with the others and say that you are starting to see some mate picking and mating attempts happening. If you have a second gander, or even goose that your male does not want around, he will chase it away and his mate will follow suit.
    Have heart though, since this aggressiveness usually disappears as soon as mating season is over. You will have to be particularly careful about separating them in their housing/sleeping quarters till they are done breeding. If closed in a confined space at night, Milk will not be able to run away and could be injured. You will need to make some sort of dividers so the other pair cannot attack her.
    Geese will usually breed the season after they are hatched. My geese have already begun exhibiting the behaviors you are seeing along with test matings in the pond. Last year my original pair started this about 6 weeks before I got their first egg, which happened November 30th (the farther South you are the earlier their breeding season). Whether your geese will lay this season or not will depend on a couple things, one of which is how far North you are: The further North the later they lay. Instead of starting in early winter like mine do, yours may not lay till Feb, March, or April next year, in which case you will most likely get eggs.

    Good luck and welcome to being owned by Geese!
     
  9. StephieC

    StephieC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2012
    Haha!! hear hear to being owned by geese XD
    I'm gonna keep a very close eye on Milk. Hope it all gets better soon :)
     
  10. Alexandra1

    Alexandra1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2013
    Hello

    thank you for posting with such long details the story about your 3 geese! It is one amazing story and thank you for taking the trouble to share it, i enjoyed reading it very much, and the video too!

    We have 3 geese ourselves, it started that we didn't know what sex they were, (they were cream-brown Brecon Buffs geese) and they ended up being 3 ganders. One developped a really high aggressiveness, yet he wasn't the boss of all 3. The boss was a beautiful gander which I called Mais and 3toes sometimes fought with him (we called him 3toes as he had one extra toe on his web which was a bit strange). We sold one of the ganders on the Internet, and the aggressive 3toes had to be put down this winter as he was limping very badly and looked very nervously damaged - we don't know what by. Maybe there was something wrong with him in the first place.

    We got Mais 2 young domestic-white geese which we bought as female, or so they are meant to be. Mais was very happy to look after them(they were hardly feathered when they arrived) and they have grown up to adult geese. They will be 1 year old this spring, and we still don't know if they are truly females or not. One of htem is rather shorter than the other, and the other is being again aggressive, and having a go at us (and me who spend a lot of time with them) and we don't know why she developped this aggressiveness, suddenly. Our problem is not they bully each other; the smaller goose is definitely a shier goose and keeps out of the way from fights and things and doesn't hiss much. This second white could be a gander - I don't know how we can find out.
    But our problem is they bully the chickens very badly, all of them. They seem to hate the chickens and for some reason, if a chicken is around they will get out of their way to chase it, and sometimes they have caught some of their feathers which is very upsetting.

    Even Mais chases them, despite me explaining to him that he shouldn't do so as they chickens aren't there to harm him. I love that gander, he has been slowly kinder to me than the original previous ganders had been. He talks a bit like yours, in an intelligent manner, and lets me stroke him and will follow me in the house or in the cottage if I am cleaning up after guests have left. He used to do to me something rather funny and odd last year when the others were here, some behaviour which I wondered if it was like a mating sort of behaviour. He would pretend he is looking for something on the ground with his beak, then look at me, then put his head up looking at the sky and shake it whilst opening and closing his beak, it was ever so funny. He stopped doing that to me when we got the 2 new white geese.

    He is such a darling and thankfully his behaviour hasn't changed too much towards me, he has not turned aggressive or odd, and even though he gets scared of new people and tries and bite them and hisses, it is only a passing temper.
    Yesteday, a new guest arrived and I showed him the geese as he loves animals and geese and chickens; he approached them very gently and at first Mais didn't peck him, but eventually he did and then started spreading his wings, and the stupid agressive white goose started to have a go at me as well!! She soon stops if I catch her and hold her, she goes into a sort of torpour where she just stares and doesnt attempt to bite or escape. Maybe it is a state of shock.

    The 3 of them stay usually together, and I just love how Mais will reply to me if I make a goose call (my weak imitation ;-) and will come and find me if I come out of the house. I am a little worried that those 2 geese are ganders again, but we should find out in the next months if they lay in their first year.

    Ours love the pond, and they get very upset when it gets frozen up as it has done lately (we live in Wales, Uk) . Maybe indeed as someone suggested, your geese need a bit of a paddle? A baby swiming pool could do, or something similar where they can immerse their head. When it was frozen I got them a large flexi Tubrug bucket and the agressive one kept on wanting to go inside, would not fit and spill it everywhere! I wish i could find out what they are... Sigh.

    I hope you get yours sorted, if you had a vet friend they could tell you what they are maybe (we have no vet friend here and don't fancy paying £40 to find out what each of them are).

    Mine love apples and bread, and will get very excited if I throw some at them (I never feed them by hand as with chickens because they seem to be very long-sighted and tend to peck my hand instead of the food, which hurts...)

    Well, this is just sharing my experience with geese and probably not a lot of help to you, but it has been lovely to share this with you and to read yours!

    Alexandra
     

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