The evil twin…

Lately Georgie has been at odds with the world.  He bites the dogs, challenges Bob and sometimes me, and beats up Polly in the nighttime so badly that I’ve had to separate the boys from the girls for sleeping!

Yesterday, while I was busy writing and posting about our weather, Georgie was making mischief.  It was nearly a fatal incident for Frellnick.

I was looking for the promised snow, and just happened to look out the dinning room window to see this!


Poor Frellnick!

Getting stuck like this can seriously injure a bird.  Getting stuck and lying in wet, slimy mud when the temperatures are dropping to freezing can kill you.

Getting on my muck boots and overcoat, I grabbed the utility shears and went out to rescue him.  Frellnick was cold and trembling by the time I got to him.  He had the netting twisted about both legs, one wing and his neck!  His chest feathers were completely soaked down to the skin and he was simply shivering!

Talking softly to him I began the process of gently unwinding the netting.  He was very calm through this process.  Hearing a hiss, I reassured him that I was trying to help.  I heard another hiss and realized that it was Georgie… hissing at me.   With neck stretched he was heading in for the kill.   I looked up and gruffly warned him away. . .

“You pinch me and your name will be changed to Dinner!”

He stood his ground, but did not deliver on his threat.  Finally freeing Frellnick, I turned him loose, then stood guard in case Georgie  decided to attack him again.


I watched as he limped away to the front of the house and thought he was OK.

Poor Baby,


He was unsuccessfully trying to clean off the mud.

Returning to the house I looked out again to check and saw him standing on one foot in the lee of the big oak out front.  He was being pelted by the returning enormous sleet; he looked miserable.  Taking pity on him I went back out.

I set up a corner for him in the barn with plenty of extra straw in his bed, some fresh water, and food.  I toweled him off as best I could and then promised to come back and check on him.  When I returned he was still there and resting in his bed.  I could see that he had eaten, but he had no interest in coming back out into the cold.  I couldn’t blame him!  Later at bedtime he was still sitting, but on seeing Georgie he got up!  He seemed a bit light on his injured left leg, but was standing on it.

7:00 AM:  It is morning, and time to let them out.  I will let you know how he is when I return.


8:00 AM:  Unfortunately, he is not much better and still prefers to stay in.   A goose’s leg is their weakest link.  The rest of their body is built like a tank, and you would think that their legs would be too, but they are not.  An injured leg that does not heal can mean death.  He is interested in his food and water, and can get up.    That is a good sign!   Today is sunny and clear with a predicted high of 48 degrees.  If it gets in the 40s soon enough I will fill the little goose pool with water and let him bathe.  He needs it!   I think Frellnick will be fine with a few days of bed-rest and spa treatments.

But what to do about Georgie?


NOTE:  An injured bird will not show weakness.  They will act as if they are fine because to show you’re not well can mean death for them.  I’ve seen this  a couple of times in my chickens and intervened (the other’s will pick them to death).  I’m seeing this display in Frellnick. 



53 thoughts on “The evil twin…

  1. shoreacres says:

    Poor baby. Thank goodness you spotted him. He definitely deserves a little pampering. As for George – hmmmmm….. I don’t know a thing about geese, but keeping those two separated until Frellnick recovers seems like a good idea!

    • Lynda says:

      Linda, Georgie has become a menace on the Farmlet. His days may be numbered, and poor Frellnick, I believe, will not miss him in the least. The problem is that Little Dorrit and Georgie have paired. It is very obvious that they are an item now. If Georgie goes, then Dorrit will pine. ;(

  2. Animalcouriers says:

    Georgie does sound like a menace. How lucky that you chanced to look when you did. Hope you manage to sort something that works for everyone. Ae these the two little ones you raised recently?

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    An awful conundrum… And you’re right, it’s time for a decision: the harsh reality is that it’s time for one or the other of your boys to leave the Farmlet – it’s just not natural for two mature males to be in such close proximity.
    So, do you assume that Frelnick will eventually recover and keep the gentler bird, or keep the overly aggressive Georgie? Will you be needing/using a gander for your flock, or is breeding even a consideration here?

    Ahh, Little Dorrit… Well, there’s not much choice then, is there? Perhaps Georgie will settle once he’s “cock of the walk”, so to speak?

    • Lynda says:

      Deb, it is a conundrum. I am willing to wait and watch, to let Frellnick heal. I do need a gander on the premises if I want my pets, and goose for the table. I am not a hunter, so growing food for the table is important to our living here on the Farmlet.

      I hope this doesn’t upset you or anyone else reading here! It is a way of life for us.


      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        “I hope this doesn’t upset you or anyone else reading here! It is a way of life for us.”
        Funnily enough, that’s exactly what I was thinking when I wrote to you…
        Farming is one tough decision after another and, by selective breeding, how farmers have managed to survive for centuries. What qualities do we want to encourage and which to eliminate? Only time and patience can show us the complete result of our efforts.
        By using (direct) genetic manipulation, we can eliminate the code responsible for Sickle Cell Anemia; but, it turns out that people with Sickle Cell are better able to survive Malaria. “Survival of the fittest” takes much time and many generations – just because we CAN manipulate genes directly, doesn’t mean we SHOULD. Sorry, sometimes I just can’t help myself… End of lecture.

  4. glutenfreezen says:

    Georgie needs to be grounded for his unfriendly behavior! lol Poor Frellnick, I hope he heals quickly. Hopefully if you have to give Georgie away someone will be willing to take him and his love Dorrit. 😦

  5. Connie Cunningham says:

    Now you know the answer, you just dont want to hear it~

    1) get some more girls, so the boys have their own mates and that will occupy them.
    2) you gotta let them battle it out and arrange the pecking order as needed.

    What we as humans see as cruel and/or bullying & unfair behaviors in flocks and packs are actually just the shifts in dynamics that comes with social groups.

    My head gander Gustav (who I just adore) lost his position when Beast died, his back up man. And they’d battled that position out 2 yrs prior to the death of Beast.

    Then big stupid Geezer took over, who is not only a bad leader but hisses at me, which alarms the flock. Who have never been alarmed by me before….. so Im thinking he may go next year. I dont appreciate the nonsense or have time for it.

    And I have less sympathy than you do Lynda.

    And last week he came right at me, so got thrown by his neck right out the door of the goose barn for his trouble. And did some fancy spins on the ice as well, I gave him a 10 for creativity as he stomped off. (I dont mess around with hierarchy. Im the top goose around this farm)

    So dont coddle, just let it all play out and they will get themselves in order. Or get some more girls for the boys. A 4-1 ratio works best for me. More than 4 girls to 1 male and the boys just cant seem to keep up~ Istn that just a good rule allaround? Its better to keep men occupied. 😉

    You are so good to your geese! I love it.

    But keep that electronet fence super taught when putting it up. Otherwise, it’s a potential killer. I lose a few young ones every spring to it and save a few from it as well. I use t-posts and zip ties to keep corners tight.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Connie! I will work on the fence lines. My problem with more geese is not enough forage here for them. That is why they are on the front lawn with the temporary fencing. I have to rotate them through the yards so everyone gets enough grass and weeds to chew.

      I understand about the ganders and duking it out to see who will be head gander. What I don’t understand is why Georgie is so mean to Polly. He chewed terrible lacerations on her bill the first and last time I tried to lock them up for the night together. It is very obvious that he has bonded with Dorrit, but not so obvious why he tries to annihilate Polly in close quarters. She is terrified of him! I had hoped that she would find a new mate in one of the ganders, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Poor Frellnick, on all counts! 😦

      Meanwhile, Frellnick is out in the sunshine, looking gimpy, but able to groom off the mud in the large flat waterer I placed out there for him. He is finding forage in the back yard too. All the geese can see each other, but until his leg heals they are separated.

      Good plan so far?

  6. Connie Cunningham says:

    Oh, and by the way, I have 4 adult ganders in my pet flock and about 12-14 females. They are all fine together. They have their squabbles, but thats part of the dynamics. You absolutely can have more than one gander. Just gotta give him some girls or understand there will be fusses.

  7. Littlesundog says:

    My oh my! I don’t know much about geese but I’m learning here on the Farmlet. We do have chickens, and we have had both rooster and hen problems in the past. It’s always disturbing to me, but I realize they have their pecking order and issues to solve. I have nothing to offer except to send good vibes and positive energy to Frellnick… and Polly (my favorite!). I hope things turn around for the best real soon!

    • Lynda says:

      You have no idea! Thank you Patti, it would have been a very hard loss to take. Just so you know, he is most definitely on the mend today (pictures posted)!

  8. Connie Cunningham says:

    In all fairness to you and reality, some geese are jerks. Just like in Humans, there is no reason. They just are. Others are sweet as sugar. In my photo, I am holding “goose” who recently passed on and came from the livestock flock and had absolutely no bonding with humans til I took him out because he couldnt walk. His hips dislocated, like displasia in dogs. Nothing to do but give him as good life as possible. WHAT A GEM! Loved everyone. Talked to me all night in the house in his basket.

    No reason for it. I have Geezer in the pet flock and he is totally going into the livestock flock next year after tonights nonsense. All males are out after this winter except Gustav.

    And I dont know why I thought you had more space! I assume you are on a farm for some reason. I know how hard geese graze, so Im impressed you have any grass at all!!

    • Lynda says:

      Georgie was aggressive since he was only a couple of weeks old. That was how I could tell them apart. Frellnick, Polly and Little Dorrit are just sugar pies.
      We are only an acre, and I rotate them through the yards to let the grass recover. The weather has been so awful that it has really affected the grass this year. I have been supplementing with wheat and chicken scratch for the winter. We are surrounded by farmland, and the folks down the street own the three acres behind us. They are on again, off again about letting us use it for grazing. 😐
      Connie, I loved that photo of you and Goose. I am sorry to hear he didn’t survive.

      • Connie Cunningham says:

        Ah hah…… Georgie IS a jerk! Agh…boys.

        And yes. I was just destroyed when Goose died. It wasnt a good life for a goose, he couldnt walk and i had to bathe him weekly (Dawn is what you use in case you ever find yourself in that predicament). Geese need to be able to flap their wings, stretch, graze, wander…. all those things.

        But he was so happy and so cuddly. He’d put his head up my sleeve and fall asleep on my lap. He’d wriggle in as close as possible against me and then sigh…… and fall sleep. So sweet.

        Thanks. Geese are very special animals.

    • Lynda says:

      Charron, Georgie, Frellnick and Polly are Pilgrim Geese, and Little Dorrit is an Embden goose.

      I was introduced to geese as a child and even though our friendship was short lived (they were Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner when I was about 8 years old) their devotion to me as a child really stuck with me. If I had more space I would have a full flock of them, a pond, and a fence all around my property to keep them in.

      I would probably also be divorced too, because my husband only tolerates them!

      • Connie Cunningham says:

        I raise hundreds of them every year and every fall I am utterly destroyed by their going to slaughter. They are worthy of love and friendship and caring ownership. When you are priveledged to know them, witness thier kindness and gentle natures….. and be part of their lives, you really get to have that transcendent experience of actually knowing a different species. Im so glad that you are able to share it with your readers.

        (Im always somewhat “suspect” in bird circles and have been booted off bird rescue sites once they learned I farm birds)

        I love hearing about your pet flock~

        • Lynda says:

          Your friendship and willingness to share with me mean so much, Connie. Thank you!

          And yes, there is something uncanny about looking into the eyes of a goose. A true, yet mysterious communication begins when you do!

          • Connie Cunningham says:

            ……I started a chapter in my book off about their white, thunderous wings blowing up clouds of dirt in the drought and having to pull my shirt over my face til the winds carried it off….. and yes, those eyes…. those beautiful sober blue eyes.

  9. Cindy Kilpatrick says:

    As I have promised myself for some time, I have finally taken a little break to enjoy catching up a bit here. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy the vicarious experience of your adventures, from the sad and nasty dings on Dimples and traumas of the Goose tales (reminiscent of Beatrix Potter) to the quilting projects and sharing a love of swing, which I grew up with and still enjoy very much. Thanks for not forgetting about me and for being such a lovely and interesting person.

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