To say that I have a close association with my geese is an understatement. I have loved geese since I was a little girl.
It all started when I was about seven and a half, and my Mom and Dad brought home two little bundles of peeping, gray and yellow fluff. They told me they were baby goslings and I named them Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose. In those days we lived in a little house in the country and all our neighbors owned farm animals of one sort or another. Some kept cows, others goats, and of course just about everybody had chickens. But only we had geese, and I thought I was just about the luckiest girl on my road!
Guss-Guss, Goose-Goose and I became good friends over the summer. They followed me everywhere in our big yard. I would play my little bamboo flute and they would waddle along behind me peeping to the tune I made.
One morning while we were out playing I noticed the Oltmans looking at me and shaking their heads. Later that afternoon they came over to talk to my Mom and Dad. They said, “Mr. and Mrs. Strong we’re concerned about little Lynda, because lately she’s been runnin’ around in the field talking to herself all day!” My parents had no idea what was going on, and became worried. They called me to come in, and when I stepped out of the tall grass, out popped Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose! They all began to laugh at the sight of me and my baby geese. Then Mrs. Oltman looked back at my parents and said, “We thought she was talking to an imaginary friend!”
Well, by summer’s was end the geese were all grown up, and they still wanted to follow everywhere I went. One morning I was late for the school bus and had to walk all the way to school. Guess who came to school with me? Yup, it was Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose.
When I got there I wanted to share them with everybody, but the Principal told me, “Lynda you can’t have geese in school because it is against the rules.” He told me to wait outside with my geese. Disappointed I went over to sit on the bench while he phoned my Mom to come get them. When Mom got there all my friends were standing around and asking me questions about them. So I guess, in a way, I did get to share them at school!
The bell rang for class to begin and my friends took off to line up. I silently got up and walked over to help Mom to put Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose into the back of the station wagon. She carefully closed the back door and turned to me. The look on her face was not hard to understand, it said…
“OK this time, but never again.”
And so it is that I now have geese again and I love them. Even better than my chickens. (Though I must say that the chickens will put up with being held better than the geese.) I have watched, and shared, the hatch of Polly’s goslings with you, and they are growing so amazingly fast!
But, as with all little creatures on a farm or Farmlet, things can and do happen.
I lost one of the ganders (boys) to my dog. It was very upsetting, but I thought I handled it like “a grown-up.” I mean, he’s a dog and the little peeper got over into the dog’s side of the yard. I could just imagine the dog’s thoughts: “Oooh, warm fuzzy squeaky toy!” It happens.
But what happened last night will take some time to get over.
You see, I went out to do “**Chicken-thirty” and when I got to the barn I saw that Polly had made quite a mess in the nest. So I turned on the light, added some straw to the nest, intending to do the job proper first thing in the morning. Then I turned off the light and started shooing everyone back into the nest.
That’s when it happened…
Stepping back in the dark my foot landed on one of the goslings. I thought I had killed him outright, and in retrospect it would have been kinder to us both if I had, but it was not the case. I made him as comfortable as I could inside the house while I tried to find a vet to help me. By the way, there are very few bird vets, and even fewer that will take on poultry. One ‘small animal’ vet I called was mad at me because I called her during her dinner and she very frankly stated, ” … if it isn’t a small animal then it isn’t an emergency.”
I did find a bird vet today. It would have been a 70+ mile drive, would cost about $300 for her to look at the baby and do x-rays, with splinting and hospital time being extra. I do not have that kind of money.
I called my local vet next and made an appointment to take the little guy in to be euthanized. He was so kind. He checked him over for me even though he doesn’t work on birds. Basically, he told me what I already knew in my heart. That there was no hope. But he took the time to explain to me why there was no hope, and he did so with such kindness.
There are some things you just can’t do no matter how much you may want to. I really wanted to save my little gosling! I am so upset, but that is principally because, I know it was my own carelessness that caused the tragedy.
Now some readers will think I am over the edge to get so upset about a baby goose. OK, perhaps I am. However, I believe that some of you will understand… and so I’ve shared my feelings with you, because sometimes it just feels better to let it out.
**Chicken-thirty: My term for that time of the day when I let out and lock up the chickens and the geese each day.