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Roast Goose: Step One

Jackie is sitting on 9 eggs.  At least we think there are nine.  Patrick and Trevor get very upset if we try to go near her.  Geese are supposed to be monogamous (or at least “in an open relationship”) for life, but maybe because we have two girls and three boys, both Patrick and Trevor seem to have decided it’s a modern family.

Of all the animals we have tried over the years, geese are shaping up to be one of the favourites.  We have tried ducks (too vulnerable to goannas), rabbits (vulnerable, and also defensively vicious), pigeons (a winner for a long while, but then the grey goshawks moved in), goats (way way way too smart, and destructive when they escape), cow (we can’t use that much milk), a pony (huge rows with teenage daughter over whose job it is to clear the crofton weed from the horse paddock), even a draught horse (died of a heart attack in a storm on Christmas Eve – ever tried to bury a draught horse on Christmas Day, when no digging machinery is available?)

The stayers right through have been chooks.  Though vulnerable, they’ve been so valuable that it’s worth it.  Then last year we added fish in the newly lined top dam. (They’re doing well, now about 20 cm, and we may try eating one or two soon).  And geese.

We had a dam.  We had grass that needed eating.  And we had an idea that geese might be aggressive enough to help protect the chooks.  Originally it was just a pair, but a pair turned out to be a bad idea.  Xanana (mistakenly named for the Timorese prime minister – he turned out to be a she) was killed by wild dog/dingo pups last summer.  Kirsty grieved so grieviously, and we couldn’t keep her alone,  so we bought another five geese – Charlotte, Jackie, Patrick, Trevor, and José.  Charlotte died of natural causes, so we have ended up with five geese.

Five geese are a formidable pack.  They can see off a goanna, make even a large carpet snake think better of it, intimidate a wedge tailed eagle, and so far they have survived a couple of encounters with wild dogs.  There are enough of them to keep lookout, and they can fly, swim and bite to get away.  They are noisy and sound scary but they are actually really endearing and with handling, quite friendly.

So, in a fortnight or so, with luck, we will see whether goslings will survive, at least long enough for us, and not the wildlife to eat them.  There is a plan of goose for Yule dinner at the winter solstice.  I couldn’t eat Patrick or Trevor or José or Jackie or Kirsty, but we are going to try to see the goslings as farm animals from the beginning.

But let’s not count the eggs before they hatch.  (I think there’s nine).

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Leanne September 25, 2011, 10:10 am

    I love our goose – Geraldine. We did begin with two but the other one was a hussy & flew off a couple of paddocks over to a gander.. never got her back. We had a gander & he was soo bossy to ME – used to bale me up in chicken coop.

    Geraldine keeps laying eggs & very nice in omelet, friends enjoy getting them too. Quite a novelty. But like you Geraldine is more a pet than an eater. Good luck on keeping detached from the babies. – Goose at Yule would be nice!

    We love our pet goat Molly too… but her kids oh my they were trouble. They ended up at a petting mobile zoo – she takes them around kindys – nice & tame.
    Love Leanne

  • Alison September 25, 2011, 7:49 pm

    I should not laugh, but the thought of you trying to dig a hole big enough for a clydesdale gave me the giggles.

  • Linda September 25, 2011, 7:58 pm

    Actually, the story is even better. Lewie was away visiting his parents, so I had to rope in some neighbours. We figured that if we dug a horse shaped hole, there would be less to dig, so the hole had legs and head shape. We dug and dug, and as fast as we dug, the horse bloated in the heat. Eventually we had enough and towed a hugely bloated horse into the hole, luckily without it exploding. But the leg holes weren’t quite long enough…It was very funny, in a black way, looking back.

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial September 26, 2011, 7:56 am

    Oh dear.. 🙂

    Friends of ours had a pony that ate itself to death. They had to call in a digger to bury it, but they put it in upside down, and Marty would always complain for years later that when he mowed the lawns, he’d clip its hooves.. 😉

    Your goose looks very regal! Bloody scary creatures, I’ve been in a car surrounded by a whole flock once, and I refused to get out. I’m not surprised they’d be good guard animals. 🙂

  • Linda September 26, 2011, 8:27 am

    They’re scary but ours are actually quite friendly. They just have a very noisy way of saying hello.

  • serendipity2000 September 26, 2011, 7:32 pm

    When I was in my early teens my sister brought home an adorable fluffy chick from Paddy’s Markets in Sydney and called it ‘Paddy’. Well Paddy grew into a gigantic vicious gander that became fiercely protective and ended up chasing the postman down the street a number of times. The garbage collector was also sent running back to his truck and my parents were politely asked to restrain him when they were doing their rounds. I can assure you it used to scare the daylights out of me.

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