It’s quite natural I think to want to only relate the good things that happen on your blog. But that isn’t real and it certainly isn’t honest. So this is the story of what I’ve come to think of as “the massacre”.
I’ve written a lot here about the barnyard project that we’ve been working on this spring; part of that project was fencing. We want to install a gate between what will be the barnyard and the orchard where the ducks and geese are currently residing. In anticipation of this and thinking we would get to it much sooner than we did, we left a portion of that fence temporarily wired rather than permanently a fixed to a post to make it easier when it came time to put in the gate. Unfortunately this weakened portion of fence gave way to 160 lb. Mac. We aren’t really sure what happened, my theory is that Mac and the geese were having their everyday ‘squabble’ through the fence that they engaged in near daily and when the fence was leaned on it just gave way. Whatever it was that happened the result was that three of our young ducks and two of our geese were killed. It was hard losing the birds, hard too that Mac had killed them, and harder still that the fault really belonged on our shoulders. We had and have an obligation to these animals that we take seriously, and we get attached. We had raised Gustav since he was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.
Here are Mac and the geese having that thru the fence ‘squabble’ I talked about.
I don’t know whether Mac really intended to harm the geese, he’s always been around the geese and chickens and ducks, I rather think it was probably a game gone out of hand, but regardless of intentions the results were the same.
Don heard the commotion outside and ran out but was unfortunately too late to save the geese or the ducks and it was with great sadness and a good deal of self reproach that we went to work making sure that fence would not be breached again and then cleaned and dressed the birds and placed them in the freezer.
That was a sad day for us and a hard one for the remaining birds. Blackberry abandoned the nest she had been sitting on in favor of being in the company of the other ducks, Bogie was traumatized at the loss of Gustav with whom he’d spent his entire life and at the loss of his new mate as well. It had been a long time since Bogie had consented to be held by me, but he was that day and sat in my lap with his head on my shoulder shaking and wanting comfort. Heidi had a broken wing and not being accustomed as Bogie was to humans cowered in the corner of the house and panicked if approached.
Slowly over a period of a couple of weeks Bogie began to act more like himself again and gradually Heidi came out of hiding and her wing healed. We were relieved when finally it became clear that Bogie and Heidi were mated. And both Blackberry and Bayberry have made nests and are sitting again.
Bayberry on her nest
Bogie and Heidi together
That was early April and we’ve let things be since then, not clear whether or not we would get any more geese. Recently we’ve started seeing raccoon prints again and hearing a lot of noise from Bogie at night. I think that maybe the raccoons are more willing to try and take on one male goose where two males were just too intimidating. We decided to get two more geese, another male to help Bogie guard against raccoons and a female to be his mate. Bogie and Heidi had moved on, it was time we did too.
So we’ve brought home these two adolescent geese an African female and Toulouse male. They need names, any suggestions?