"Training" goslings - aggressiveness?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by GoodEgg, May 6, 2008.

  1. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My little guys are growing well, and have tons of personality. They are just over a month now, an are about the size of my full grown runner ducks.

    My question is about the little yellow guy. I still don't know for sure the breeds of any of them. The yellow one has a different personality from the dark ones. He's more independent, a little less cuddly, and definitely a bully in the making.

    He doesn't pick on the other goslings anymore, thankfully. But he seems to have a "get them before they get me" attitude about the chickens and ducks. I keep them in a pen separated by themselves (the 3 goslings) but the chickens and ducks free-range around them. And sometimes my little Houdinis manage to escape their pen.

    If the chickens get close to the fencing (they are VERY interested in the starter I feed the baby gooses), the yellow guy will snap at them through the wire, and often manages to bite, since it's just nylon deer fencing. (The silly chickens don't leave, they stand there and get bitten until they can't stand it anymore then turn to peck a chicken that is lower-ranking nearby.)

    And the other day he (my Atilla-goose ... I think that's what I'm going to name him/her) got out of his pen, and I don't know what happened to lead up to it, but he grabbed hold of the swedish drake (who is mildly aggressive himself due to breeding season) and the drake was running around the yard dragging my little pit bull of a gosling behind him.

    My plan is actually to divide up the property very soon. I plan to give the chickens their own area, probably about 1/2 of the yard. I am hoping to give the ducks a smaller area adjacent to the garden and hopefully let them wander in the garden during the day. The center area will be for the humans and dog. It's a very big yard. So in this way I could separate the geese ... though I don't know which part to put them in yet. Really though, I want everyone to be able to get along. It might be that making smaller areas will put them in closer contact and make it more difficult for them to get along. He doesn't seem to seek out attacking the others, only bites if they get too close. But he's going to be a big boy/girl, I think, and I'm afraid the others could be in danger if he keeps acting this way.

    (I do put each kind in its own coop at night, not mixing them at all.)

    Is there any way to discourage the aggressiveness, or am I doing the right things? Maybe I should let them spend more time together (supervised) before the baby gooses get TOO big? The dark ones are fine with everyone else. If they get scared, they just cry and wait for me to defend them. It's the yellow one that will attack whoever gets too close to him.

    Any advice is MUCH appreciated.

    trish
     
  2. Broke Down Ranch

    Broke Down Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It has been my experience that geese are either aggressive or they aren't - there really is no way to stop it. It sounds to me like you may have a white chinese gosling there - the white chinese always seem to be the worst.....
     
  3. moms_pantry

    moms_pantry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a white chinese goose, and he is somewhat aggressive. He lost his mate recently so he is a little more distant now. He would follow me around and come to me when I called, but now he has decided that he is my husband's goose. He runs after him everywhere he goes and waits to be petted. He does however, nibble on his wrist and hand. He is very lonely now as they were the only two geese that I had. He's not interested in staying with the ducks. I am currently looking for him another mate.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2008
  4. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm ... well, I guess I'll have to play it by ear. I don't know how trainable geese are anyway, though they seem quite smart. I guess it all depends on what you are trying to train them to do, LOL.

    It may be that I'll have to fence the front for this guy, and rotate him on the chicken area when the chickens aren't there, if he becomes that aggressive. I'd really wanted to be able to put the geese on any of the yard, so they can help keep the grass short, but I have to keep everyone safe as well.

    I think it's quite likely he is a White Chinese. Either that or an Embden. He's HUGE though, compared to the dark ones.

    I guess we'll just have to see. [​IMG] Thanks for the replies!

    trish
     
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't think there is a way to train the goose to behave differently. What will change, though, is your other poultry will know his name and give him a wide berth. The pinching and holding-onto others as they try to run away is just the way geese do it. It's rather funny, sometimes, when 2-3 get intertangled pinching eachother and no one will let go of the other. I doubt anyone is going to get harmed by Atilla. Of all my geese, the Embdens probably are the most 'agressive'. With that said, any female with goslings near her is worse, though. [​IMG]
     
  6. Sparrow

    Sparrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My big Chinese White gosling, named Da Pengyou...it means "big friend" in Mandarin Chinese [​IMG] .....was doing that to my spunky little duckling, Admiral, when they were all playing together the other day. It didn't seem like he was trying to hurt Admiral, he was just being a butt because he was all cuddled up next to me hogging the attention and Admiral came over wanting attention, too. [​IMG] It was annoying, but I'm trying to teach him that I'm the boss, period, so I stopped the behaviour and he seemed to settle down after throw ing a minor temper tantrum and biting me. lol

    They seem to know what you are trying to convey to them when you "correct" them, and I'm determined to see what will happen if I act as their kind but firm "parent". I really enjoy working with all sorts of animals and seeing what types of intelligence and trainability they possess. Quite frequently, I find animals are far more intelligent and interactive than you may have previously thought. This could be interesting. [​IMG]
     
  7. SueNH

    SueNH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an older gander that I was given as an adult. Know nothing of his background but he is the most cantankerous thing I've run across. I've patched him up twice now where he's decided to take on one of my horses. Broke a wing the first time, broke or dislocated a leg the second. He walks with a limp now and one wing droops a bit. I say the attack where he broke his wing. He launched himself at my draft horse who was just getting a drink. Gander made all the way to the rump of the horse and gave him a painful nip. Horse kicked. Bird was very lucky he wasn't killed.

    I have discovered over the course of playing nursemaid to Godzilla (he came with the name, should have been a clue) that if he's on the attack and I turn around and pat him and make silly chick talk at him it blows his mind and he moves off. Starts telling his wife how brave and wonderful he is instead.

    I've only had one other pair of geese. I was a kid and raised them as pure pets. The gander would still attack. Other times he was rather content sitting next to me while I did my homework under the apple tree.
     
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I have never met a goose that wasn't agressive. I think that is one reason so few people bother to raise them. In last few decades the family farm has disappeared for many. Smaller land holdings, less natural water and geese are left on the wayside.
     
  9. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I have some who will let me pick them up and hold them. So, I think geese will cover the spectrum of behavior.

    That's an astute point on the diminishing water available due to urban sprawl. Another thing which happened was with all the subsidized grains in the US, people turned to turkeys since you can hatch & fatten them in XXX days just like a crop of meat broilers. Waterfowl tend to be most productive layers the winter, meaning you may have to keep geese around 10 months before processing.

    It makes me sad, though. When researching goose usage over the history of the US and England, having barnyard geese was fundamental (even within towns). The Michaelmas feast in September was also the day of the annual goose sales in England. Everyone would haul their geese into a market in wagons to be sold along to people. They were then taken to farms to be fattened up on the "aftermath" of the grain harvest and would be ready in time for Christmas. Can you imagine the sound of thousands of geese, riding into a market town on horse drawn wagons? What a wild day that must have been!!

    And that's a big reason why I eat goose. Live as our ancestors did. They probably knew a thing or two. [​IMG]
     
  10. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, Greyfields, I have to say that I've appreciated your posts about some of the benefits of raising geese.

    These guys I have now are intended as pets, so I don't plan to eat them (though who knows, depending how Atilla behaves, LOL).

    I find that, while on some days they seem to want a lot of starter, they go through a LOT less than my 7 chicks, who are older, but now weigh a lot less than the 3 goslings put together. The goslings are growing QUITE well on the forage, and cutting down on the grass I will need to mow as well. They produce more "fertilizer" as well, LOL. If I was growing birds for meat (and hopefully I may be within a year or two), I think I'd have to consider geese. I see your point compared to turkeys and the feed they require. I don't think I've ever eaten goose, but I can see a small flock raised for meat could be quite an advantage.

    As for personality, the chicks are actually more aggressive to me personally than the goslings are (and these are buff orps and light brahmas, LOL). I don't know of course how they will grow up, but for the time being, the baby gooses always answer me when I speak to them, they run to me with their little necks stretched out whistling to me, and love to be held and petted and to eat my hair. They are only aggressive to the other animals, but they seem to be shaping into better "guard dogs" than my dog, LOL.

    If nothing else, maybe I can fence the front yard (it's VERY large too, and pretty much wasted except for the pecan trees growing there and the cats using it for a playground), and let them keep the grass and weeds down out there and serve as watchdogs for me.

    Thanks!
    trish
     

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