Polly Wanna What?

One day my goose Polly honked at me through the back door.  She climbed right up the stairs to the mudroom door and honked loudly until I finally went to see her.    Then she hopped down and began to walk away!   She did this many times.

On this particular day I was cold and I looked out the window to see what was up…

She must have heard my footfalls on the wooden planks as I walked over to the window because when I looked out this is what I saw.

She looked at me as if to say:  “Well, I’m waiting, com’on out will ya, I got something to say!”

Well, when she put it that way, I donned my Crazy Chicken Lady attire and went out to see what she wanted.

Seeing me she quickly turned and waddled to the gate by the barn and began to rub herself back and forth along the gate.

She reminded me of the prisoners who rattle their cups along the bars in the old movies.  This was a signal I immediately recognized, and so I opened the gate for her.

Quickly she continued on

Waddling as fast as those little flappy feet would take her.

They are quite fast this morning because she is a goose on a mission!

Polly wants to lay an egg!


Looking about in the sleeping nest she moves a bit of straw around and then honks at me again:  “Meh!  I can’t lay an egg in here.  It’s filthy!”  Which is putting it politely…
Geese are not the cleanest of bed mates I am afraid.
I see her moving the straw again, and know what she wants.  She wants a clean nest! She begins rubbing herself on the back of the kennel fence this time.  (I use this fence to keep them out of the rest of the barn at night, because geese just LOVE to chew and dibble and will ruin even the toughest of items if you let them.)

I open the kennel fence and she goes over to the bales of straw.  Clipping the twine allows a flake to fall to the floor and she immediately begins to tear it apart moving it and arranging it to her liking.   While she works I put up a blockade to keep her out of the other side of the barn where she might get herself into trouble.

When I am done I leave and pull the kennel fence shut so the cats and other animals can’t get in to disturb her.

In about a half an hour I return to let her out, but whoopsie!  She’s not done…

Laying an egg is strenuous work. She looks at me as if to say, “Hey, a little privacy here!  Come back later!”

And a bit later…

There it is!


An interesting factoid for you:  One goose egg is equal to three chicken’s eggs.

One goose egg will make any cake you bake the best you have ever eaten!  Now don’t feel too bad that I am taking Polly’s eggs to make cake… You see, her eggs are not fertile this year, because I have no ganders.  I thought I had a gander when I got the three baby Hueys, but it turns out they were all girls!  (You can read all about the arrival of the Hueys HERE)

Oh, but never fear.   I have new baby Pilgrim ganders arriving on April 30th, and next spring it will be as it should be!


Now, because she is done, and ready to go join her friends, I open the kennel fence and we walk back to the side of the yard where the rest of the geese are eating and swimming.  They honk greetings all around and then continue their grazing.

Polly has been telling me when she needs to lay an egg for about a month now.  Last week was the first time she came calling at the back door for me.

Strange, smart, amazing goose!


ADDENDUM:   Because so many of you have remarked on Polly’s intelligence,  I  have added a link to a 2007 article from the Boston Globe entitled,

Eggheads:  How bird brains are shaking up science  <— Click

This article is on the intelligence of the avian species!  They really are quite remarkable in their thinking and reasoning abilities.  Far more than we have ever given them credit for. 

So, from now on when someone calls you a “birdbrain” you may just take it as a compliment!

24 thoughts on “Polly Wanna What?

  1. jmgoyder says:

    This is fascinating! What a beauty your Polly is and very smart. Our geese aren’t laying yet (I don’t really definitely know which are females anyway!)
    The photos are amazing and your story – I can just see it all happening the way you tell it!

    • pixilated2 says:

      I had geese when I was little (7) and every day I look at Polly and realize why I loved them so! They really are intelligent birds. I think Polly is especially close because she imprinted with me. The Hueys just tolerate me because she does. It will be a very sad day when she is gone… but that is awful to think about, and so we won’t! 😉
      ~ L

  2. magsx2 says:

    That is amazing, I just cannot get over it. It really shows you how smart these animals are, and I love how you showed the walk and the laying of the egg in your photos, A wonderful post. 🙂

  3. littlesundog says:

    What a delightful story and hilarious pictures! I felt like I was right there following the two of you around! I’ve never had geese, but I rehabilitated an orphaned duck and bought a second for a companion. What a lot of work they were and were they ever messy! I did enjoy the quacking, and they loved to swim in an old bath tub. With all of the fox activity we have around here each year, I ended up giving them away. Polly is a gem! I just loved this story!

    • pixilated2 says:

      Lori, I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. That makes me really smile considering what a wonderful writer you are on your blog! I just love to read about your work about the deer you’ve rehabilitated.
      Although not as readily thought of as other animals for raising on a farm, I find that geese really are special, though perhaps just too old fashion’ for most folks. Though I’m certain my friend Connie would disagree with that!
      ~ L 😉

    • pixilated2 says:

      Actually, yes they are! In fact, they are far more intelligent than they are given credit for. In recent studies they have found out that they are capable of thinking and reasoning on a very high level. So, to be called a “bird brain” would now be a compliment I should think. ~ L
      PS: I am adding a link to the end of this post regarding bird intelligence, because so many have remarked on how smart Polly is! 😉

  4. shoreacres says:

    No geese in my life, and I must say I’m sorry after reading your story. I love it when bonding like that takes place. I had a raccoon that brought her babies to show off to me three years in a row. There’s no question that’s what she was doing, because she had to climb a tree to get to my balcony. She’d bring them up, one at a time, scratch at the door until I came and cooed over them, and then she’d carry them back down. Obviously, I’d been feeding her a good while, but still – it was a wonderful experience.

    The mallards are fun, too. Some years ago a marina duck raised 17 babies to adulthood. I called them for food with a special “click”, and for years there were still ducks around that would answer to that – if I called, I’d better have bread in my hand!

    • pixilated2 says:

      Aww… how sweet! I love it that you had that communication and bonding with them. Mostly, around here people want to get rid of all the wild critters. They have no understanding or respect for them at all. Glad you were there for those at least. 🙂

  5. Connie Cunningham says:

    Oh that is so sweet….! Geese are so wonderful. And no one, other than a goose lover/owner ,knows how deeply they will connect with you. She has to trust you SO SO much to be able to request your help like that.

    I love hearing how much you love Polly, but I espcially appreciate hearing how much she loves you.

    … hey have you seen this TED talk video with my hero: Eduardo Sousa? Its really worth a watch.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Connie, Thank you for the compliment about Polly! I do love her so! And hey, this guy is great and I appreciate your sharing his lecture here. I am trying very hard to do it right and grow my food responsibly. I have also been trying to figure out how to grow a better food system here for my geese to forage on. Maybe I should have just asked you in the first place? Again, thank you for the video!
      ~ L

  6. pattisj says:

    This is such a cute story, and she’s so pretty! I loved this. How many times I’ve heard the saying, “Doesn’t have the brains God gave a goose.” Just goes to show how smart they are.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Patti, I know I approved and answered your comment last night, but it wasn’t either of these things today! I guess I forgot to hit the enter key. Sorry! Anyway, I love the saying you quoted above, and I had never heard it before! Thank you for sharing it with me, and I agree with you 100%
      ~ L

    • pixilated2 says:

      Geese are great! I have loved them since I was a little girl. However, Polly is positively amazing! And yes, she has me pretty well trained alright! 😉
      PS: Shhhh…., don’t tell the chickens, but I am loving the geese more than them.

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