Problem gander at the lake

Discussion in 'Geese' started by desertdarlene, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am having a problem with an undersized Chinese white-fronted gander at my local lake. 90% of the time, he's no problem, but any time he's hungry he gets really, really mean and aggressive. He's bitten me several times and when he realizes that I am not intimidated by him, he runs off and won't let me get near him. I've been trying to make friends with him by talking to him and not showing that I am intimidated by him. Sometimes, I offer him food, but he doesn't like what I give him, he only wants cracked corn and maybe some bread and lettuce.

    Today, he got extremely aggressive and went between my feet, grabbed my calf and began yanking at it. It didn't hurt too much, but I had to grab him by the neck to get him to stop. I don't like doing that as I am afraid I might hurt him that way. He then flapped his wings and ran away to go boss around the other geese. I don't think he could hurt me as he's undersized and has very short wings and feathers, so even a wing-slap wouldn't be too dangerous. His companion, who is much larger, doesn't get involved except for support and to calm his angry friend.

    Is there anything I can do to get him to not be so aggressive towards me and other people? I often need to get near him to photograph the killdeers for my blog. I don't want to feed him when he gets aggressive because I don't want to reward that behavior. I've noticed that a lot of people "throw food" at him when he charges at them or run away. I don't do that, but I can't control what other people do.

    I know it's hard because he's in a public area and deals with a lot of people I have to be careful so that I don't come across as abusing or harassing him even when I'm defending myself. Lake staff doesn't have anything to do with them, so I can't rely on them to tell me "secrets" to dealing with them.

    I found out, today, that the other geese wouldn't let him get any food, so that might be why he was extra-cranky.

    Are some ganders just jerks?
     
  2. JROOSTER

    JROOSTER Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are some ganders just jerks?

    Yes

    I would feed him just cuz he might need it if the other geese dont let him eat.

    If he gets used to you not running from him or being afraid of him he may just leave you alone.

    Good Luck
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  3. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    He actually does eat, but he demands to be fed first. He seems to have a lot of food insecurity, but there are people who make sure he gets fed at least in the morning. I will try to continue to bring veggies for him and the other geese who seem to love them. Once he eats, and he doesn't eat that much, he seems fine and will either go somewhere where he's not bothered by people or move out of the way/not bite. However, that only lasts a few hours.

    I've been working with him a couple of months and usually he doesn't get as aggressive to me as he was today. He seemed to be in a rage, probably because the other geese weren't letting him boss them around as much. I just hope I didn't hurt him by grabbing his neck (I tried to be firm, but gentle, but it's my first time ever that I've had to reach out for him at all). But, he seemed perfectly normal even a few hours later. I will check on him tomorrow.
     
  4. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some just are jerks [​IMG]

    Luckily he's not very big . . .

    I had a gander named Pinhead who was a complete jerk. He would eat out of my hand, and in between bites would bite my hand HARD and chomp on my leg for good measure. I packed him around like a football, held his neck down on the ground, tried to just hold him and love on him. CHOMP. ATTACK.

    He was, in truth, the quintessential Gander evolution meant them to be. He was the best Daddy goose, the greatest defender, the one all the females loved best.

    I had to accept him exactly as he was. I had to watch out for him, or wear stuff that made it hurt less when he bit me.
     
  5. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That's what I'm going to do, just accept him as he is and if he does attack, be prepared for it. Unfortunately for me, he's not my own gander, so any kind of handling/touching other than petting may get me in trouble or make someone very upset so as to make it hard for me to visit the lake or blame me if something ever happened to him. I love visiting that lake because I love all the duckies and killdeer there.

    I'm wondering if there's been some new group dynamics going on. When I arrived, I think he was already fed and thought something happened to him because he was extremely quiet. Even after getting fed, he's usually very loud in the morning. Also, he was separate from the group, which isn't unusual for him, but it seemed very odd that he was all by himself and not trying to bully all the other geese as he usually does every morning. Another gander of a different breed has gotten louder and slightly more aggressive. It could just be that the Chinese one is not feeling well or something.

    Also, they lowered the water a lot, too. I wonder if that's affecting his mood because I think it changes where they hang out during the day.

    Today, I walked close to him as I wanted to see how close I could get before he reacted to me. He didn't rush up to me or anything, as he has often done in the past, but he did threaten me when I got a few feet from him. He acted like he was going to chase me as I walked past, but I reached out like I was going to grab him (not a serious reach-out but motioned my upper body and arm toward him) and he turned sideways and didn't chase me. I decided not to push it any farther. Usually, he walks or runs away from me, but he's been standing his ground more the last few days.

    I think I'm going to try to avoid him since he, obviously, doesn't like me. He seems to be more tolerant of men than women.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  6. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    I say let him attack (wear some jeans & tall boots) and then snatch his butt and pack him home! LOL [​IMG]
     
  7. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I would LOVE to take him home because, maybe, it will help him with his food insecurity and calm him down. But, I have no place to keep geese, yet. If I did, he would already be in my yard in his own pen. But, then, some other gander will be out bullying people at that lake, probably his friend.

    I'm worried that he might become coyote food if the coyotes start coming around there again. They've been staying away from that area and I haven't seen a goose or duck get killed at that spot in years. Also, I'm afraid a human might do something from him if he doesn't knock it off with his aggression and noise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  8. GrumpyOldMan

    GrumpyOldMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Sounds like he has small-man syndrome. He just has to assert his authority. [​IMG]
     
  9. The goose girl

    The goose girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seems to me he's just a gander being a gander.

    I can't believe food insecurity applies to geese. If he doesn't eat, he's probably just not that hungry.

    I don't think you can make friends with a gander in a flock. He's not imprinted on humans, so either he sees you as a threat he can chase away, or he sees you as a threat he can't chase away.

    People often think geese walking up to them are tame or trying to be friendly. Not so. Ganders protect their flock by walking up to possible threats - including people - checking out whether it's possible to chase the threat away. They'll start by hissing at you, flapping their wings, and yelling, and if that seems to work they'll try to bite you just to show you they mean business.

    The more scared he is of you, the closer you can get before he attacks. But I really, really don't think you can ever gain his trust and become friends with him. That would be against his instincts.
     
  10. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, you're probably right, he's probably too feral. I made good friends with other feral Chinese ganders in the past and saw him as a challenge, but didn't think I couldn't get him to be friendly with me. I just thought it would take longer. He's not been a problem until lately. On his own volition, he will run at me to get something to eat (if I'm feeding other geese or ducks) and, before I know it, without doing anything, he's acting like he's going to bite. He doesn't hiss or make any warning sometimes and if I try to move away, he'll chase and attack me.

    Today, he was actually a lot better, I don't know if he's changed his mood or the fact that I stopped trying to befriend him has made the difference. He did run at me when the "food guy" came and started to tense up, but I didn't step toward him and said a firm "no!" when he looked like he was going into attack mode. He stopped, looked at me, and then went another direction. That was a big difference, usually he'll run right up to me and before I know it, he's threatening to bite. Also, he was a lot quieter, too.

    Then, while the guy was feeding the ducks, I saw him coming down, calling, to get his share, usually right out of the feed bag. I made sure that I was in a position where he wouldn't have to pass close to me to get his food. Again, he was totally fine, no threatening behavior at all even though I was only a few feet away. Later, when the guy left, I was able to get closer without any aggression, but I think I made him uncomfortable, so he went for a swim, so I decided to leave him so that he could finish eating.

    Later on, when I went to check on him, I saw something I wanted to take a photo of something near him. He and his friend got upset and began to honk at me. He started to stretch out his neck upward, but he moved his body sideways. For a second, I thought I saw him lower his neck like he was going to charge and bite, but he must have put it back up. I passed close to him, but made it clear that I was not going to approach him and he actually seemed surprised when I moved away. A few minutes later, I had to come back and he just barely made any noise at all at me, though he looked at me.

    I notice he's more of a problem when women try to feed him, he gets extremely aggressive and often bites them, so it's not just me. He seems to get mad when women are too close to the food, but are fine when he's being fed by men.

    He's also been isolating himself from the group a lot and the other geese seem to be a little more aggressive, not just to him, but to each other more. Could be the warmer, drier weather we're having? I think group dynamics have changed, too. I am a little worried that he's staying away from the group so much and wonder if he's not feeling well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010

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