Oftentimes a fluffy gosling will look up at me with adorable eyes. I have seen the adults sometimes look at me. I never really thought about why they would be doing this and I am still not all that certain. I assume they are saying the same thing they would say to another goose if they looked at them with their adorable eyes. At one point when I was watching my geese I got to see something quite cool that expressed that geese are doing much more than charging and screaming.
Redbud who is currently the leader of the flock was standing by the water container overseeing the ladies when Boxelder, a small and - I will be honest - annoying gander came over. Redbud simply made eye contact with Boxelder and Boxelder thought better of approaching.
I assume that a lot of that happens and I simply do not notice it. I need to keep an eye on that and see what other instances of eye contact occur and how geese typically use it.
I believe that when they vibrate their heads they are also perhaps employing the use of eye contact as well to tell the other goose things. It may be that the eyes decide who will be walking away from whatever the two have had a disagreement about.
My geese often make eye contact with me especially Redbud who is shown in the picture above. I believe that this can be employed in friendly means or simply to assess the individual and see what they are thinking and what they are up to. It seems to be rather important in goose communication now that I have come to think about it. They often will look at me and they do not seem to always be trying to tell me the same things. Some seem to make eye contact when they are requesting food, others when they want to see if it is safe to come and eat my clothes, and perhaps as a part of ganders courting geese. And of course, as a challenge.
I have much more to learn! And perhaps on a sunny day I will sit down with a notebook and see what behaviors my geese show me.
It is easy to bond with goslings! All it takes are plenty of cuddles and conversations.
Goslings love it when you pick them up and hold them close and allow them to snuggle up. They will climb up to your shoulder into your hair or hide in your jacket.
They also love conversations as do adults. They enjoy noises and repeated words. Certain geese enjoy certain words more than others. They will come to love a word that you repetitively tell them when you are raising them. My older geese are fans of honk while my younger geese do not care much for it.
It is not necessarily a bad sign when goslings or geese peck and chew on you or your clothes or things. It all depends on their behaviors such as body posture and expressions. Most of my goslings have meant it in a friendly manner. Some are more vicious (still friendly, just getting carried away) than others and do hurt. The more vicious they are though is a good indicator of how friendly they are. They enjoy grabbing your finger, pecking at your hands, clothes, hair, etc. They will also eat your hair.. The adults do the same things.
Particular favorites of goslings and geese are hair, shoelaces, buttons, and fingers.
When geese eat your finger it hurts. I typically do scold the geese for this but they do not appear to be affected by their scolding.
My geese - I assume all geese - love green stuff. They seem to have preferences about green stuff but those preferences will not stop them from eating the green stuff you offer. They typically seem a little setback by herbs but they will learn to eat them nonetheless. My geese will be on good terms with me if I offer a decent harvest of weeds. They also adore their food. It is fortunate that they do so that I can train them pretty well if they start refusing to eat out of my hand.
Training your geese to eat out of your hand works pretty well to keep them decently friendly even when you have a flock of twenty five geese! I spent plenty of time with them as goslings, of course, while teaching them to eat out of my hand and allowing them time to chew on clothes, hair, and shoelaces. Besides scolding them for eating my fingers I will scold geese and goslings alike if where they chew on me hurts. Of course, they do not seem to remember next time they are back to chewing or when they resume. They will spend a very decent amount of time chewing on you. It seems to be a sort of entertainment for the geese.
Geese get very excited when you pretend to be a goose and bow and honk and makes all kinds of other goose-like noises. Either they are mad or excited to see that you are actually a goose like they thought instead of a strange creature that they do not know the name of. Some of them will get extremely close during your outbreak of goose behaviors.. so close that you could almost break free of your goose behaviors and grab them despite them not liking being grabbed all that much.
Grabbing geese do make me lose progress with them. I hope to mostly de-sensitize them to being touched and then proceed to train them to let me pick them up. All of that will take a while to do. I had trained them at one point to stand on me when I was kneeling. Certain individuals came to the point of not immediately leaving in terror and would actually stay and eat out of my hand or stretch out their necks and eat out of the food bucket. Some of them having learned this would climb onto me when I was kneeling without being surprised when they realized they had just climbed onto me and off. Some would stay on me once climbing up which had been what I was training them for. I have not continued this practice so they do not do this now.
The summary is... lots of cuddles as goslings, hand-feeding, do not pick them up, and let them eat you!
Batch #024: Set January 18, 2021. 10 eggs were set. At lockdown 7 eggs were developed. Lockdown was February 12, 2021. 6 goslings hatched on February 16, 2021. Goslings were named Snowflake, Wintergreen, Columbine, Yarrow, Daffodil, and Grass of Parnassus.
Batch #025: Set January 29, 2021. 17 eggs were set. At lockdown 13 eggs were developed. Lockdown was February 23, 2021. All 13 goslings hatched from February 28 through March 1, 2021.
Batch #026: Set February 6, 2021. 19 eggs were set. At lockdown 13 eggs were developed. Lockdown was March 3, 2021. 12 goslings hatched from March 9 through March 11, 2021.
Batch #027: Set February 12, 2021. 9 eggs were set. At lockdown 6 eggs were developed. Lockdown was March 10, 2021. 6 goslings hatched from March 13 through 14, 2021 and one hatched March 16, 2021.
Batch #028: Set February 26, 2021. 3 eggs were set. At lockdown 2 eggs are developed. Lockdown was March 23, 2021. Waiting to see if both hatch and when they do. Goslings should hatch around March 27, 2021.
Batch #029: Set March 12, 2021. 28 eggs were set. Lockdown is April 6, 2021. Goslings should hatch around April 11, 2021.
Batch #030: Will be setting this batch which will be the largest batch I have ever had on March 26, 2021. Lockdown will be April 20, 2021. Goslings should hatch around April 24, 2021.
Boxelder Maple was a small gander of the flock and was also the youngest. He was son to Black Cherry and Siberian Elm. He was not part of the same group as his parents and would even fight with them. He took to often fighting with Black Cherry and despite his size proved to be a worthy opponent. He at first could not win against Black Cherry but eventually he was the one who won the fights. He would not readily forgive his attacker and would pursue and even continue holding on to his opponent until he felt that he had done enough to make his opponent think twice about challenging him.
He did not have his way with Eastern Redbud for Redbud had battled many ganders of different sizes, ages, and personalities and had plenty of skill in battle because of this. Boxelder managed to beat off Baldcypress every now and then but had to then face Redbud and he would rather flee than challenge him.
Boxelder had a hard time convincing any of the ladies of the flock to be with him despite his skill in battle because he was small. The females including the smaller ones preferred the bigger ganders.
One day a young goose was released into the flock. She had several defects and had a hard time navigating and understanding the language of the geese. Boxelder loved her when first he saw her and followed her and talked to her. Eventually the young goose came to understand a little bit of the language and could sort of talk to him.
Over time she understood it completely and loved Boxelder. Boxelder due to his ferocity kept the young goose safe from attackers and the white geese began to accept the young goose into the flock. Southern Magnolia and American Snowbell were the most un-willing to accept the goose in the beginning but even they began to get used to her and tolerate her.
The young goose finally told Boxelder that her name was Terebinth. Boxelder saw that her lineage was that of Gingko's.
Terebinth was very sweet but because of her defects was easily spooked and did not react well to being pecked. She was fully-feathered out but usually did not keep herself as clean as the other geese though when she finally came to love Boxelder she put more effort into making herself presentable.
Boxelder seeing that Terebinth would not eat the grass that sprung up through the leaves upon the ground showed her it and convinced her to try some. She was not thrilled with it but Boxelder persistently showed it to her and tried to get her to eat some. Eventually she came to love it as much as the other geese. She became happier and healthier when she started eating grass.
Terebinth in her turn showed Boxelder boiled eggs and was persistent as well until he too loved boiled eggs.
Terebinth would eventually even start laying eggs though she did not lay very frequently. She came to love goslings as much as her mother Gingko. Boxelder, however, did not care much for them.
Boxelder calmed down finally and was less of a troublemaker in the flock though he would still fight if anyone threatened Terebinth. Some of the older ganders came to like Boxelder because he was less annoying and vicious. Redbud would talk to Boxelder and Terebinth and so would Cherry and Cypress. The other young ganders Rowan and Buckeye ignored him still and the rest of the ganders and hung out with the white geese.
In honor of Terebinth my sweet goose who although she has defects will not give up.
I started gathering information about each egg I collected and thankfully it has proved to be rather important in many ways. Not only has it shown me when geese laid the best but it also helps me to find out about how old a goose was when they first started laying. The laying cycles may depend on the region, seasons, weather, how the goose is raised, their ancestry, and what line they hail from. But hopefully the information may be enough for an approximate estimate of when geese lay their best and at least when geese from my stock will be likeliest to start laying.
There is information out there saying that geese take two years to start laying and this may indeed be true for certain geese or maybe even most geese but it is definitely not true for mine.
December 2019 - Sassafras
January 2020 - Sassafras
February 2020 - Siberian Elm, Gingko, and Common Fig
March 2020 - Siberian Elm, Gingko, Stansbury Cliffrose, Mockernut Hickory, and Rocky Mountain Juniper
April 2020 - Siberian Elm, Stansbury Cliffrose, Rocky Mountain Juniper, and Black Tupelo. Possibly at the very end of the month Mockernut Hickory laid
May 2020 - Siberian Elm, Rocky Mountain Juniper, and Mockernut Hickory
June 2020 - Mockernut Hickory, Rocky Mountain Juniper, Cinnamon, and Gingko
July 2020 - Cinnamon and Gingko
August 2020 - Cinnamon, Russian Olive, Gingko, and Black Tupelo
October 2020 - Gingko
November 2020 - Gingko, Southern Magnolia (White Chinese), and Chickasaw Plum (White Chinese)
December 2020 - Chickasaw Plum. Quite a few eggs most of which are unknown. One was 5.1 ounces suggested an experienced layer -- likely Gingko
How many months old a goose was when they first laid:
4 geese at 6 months
3 geese at 8 months
2 geese at 7 months
1 goose at 5 months
1 goose at 9 months
1 goose at 10 months
1 goose at 11 months
If all three of these eggs were hers she is already and amazing layer since this is her first time laying. Today, November 13, 2020, she went to her nest in the barn to lay. If she keeps up her laying she may became the best layer that I have ever had.
Currently her eggs are quite small but hopefully they will quite soon get bigger and bigger until they are hatching size.
This is quite an exciting milestone.
Many places refer to African and Chinese geese as separate breeds. I would consider the two not as breeds but as two lines of the same breed. Show quality African and Chinese geese are very different because they were selectively bred for different traits.
In show quality African geese they are very big, heavy geese very suitable for their meat. They also tend to have big dewlaps. Because of their size and heaviness they cannot walk that well. MetzerFarms Hatchery has these show quality geese defined as 'Super Africans' while the more simple geese who look similar to my geese are referred to as African geese.
The best of show quality Chinese geese are tall with very slender and long necks and very prominent knobs.
In African and Chinese geese that are not show quality they tend to look a lot like one other since they are of course, the same breed. It is simply the merging of two lines so that some geese lean towards the African line more while others lean towards the Chinese line more. Some may even have a balance of both of the lines.
I consider the geese of my flock who are even with the ground and are shorter with shorter necks to be more on the African side. While the geese who are more erect with longer necks and who tend to be smaller are more on the Chinese side. The Chinese line is not as strict with dewlaps so thanks to the line I can breed for geese without dewlaps.
Willow's Flock currently has twenty-five members. Some of which I had already mentioned in goose entries but I figured it would be too much to make entires for each individual goose. I have a few of the original flock left and one of two gray Chinese. And I later on added five White Chinese geese to my flock.
As usual Juniper was being bossed around. This time she was in a ring of rocks which inside the ring contained four trees and plenty of crispy, brown leaves covered the ground. She had made her way through the multitude of crispy leaves to drink out a blue water barrel when another goose who had already been in the ring chased her off quite viciously.
One goose named Elm saw this scene and felt sorry for the little goose who had been viciously chased. She decided she would go talk to the little goose. She started the conversation by saying to the little goose, "I am sorry about how that goose treated you. You have that happen to you a lot, I see. I would be happy to keep you company and fend off whoever I can." The little goose was surprised at being spoken to so nicely. "Well, that would be nice. You remind me of a friend of mine - Sugar Maple," said Juniper. "Oh. I am her daughter and happen to have striking resemblance in looks and voice," replied Elm. "In that case I would definitely want you to hang out with me. I would not want to refuse such an opportunity," said the little goose.
And from that day on, the two became good friends. Elm could not always fend off geese but with her help Juniper became a much more accepted goose in the flock.
The sun had risen quite high into the sky. It was about noon. The sky was blue with a few fluffy white clouds dotting its blueness. A decent portion of Willow's Flock was gathered around a white-flowered Crape myrtle. Despite it not being very big it had bloomed prolifically that year. This group consisted of three ganders: European Rowan, Ohio Buckeye, and Boxelder Maple. The majority of geese present around the young tree, however, were ladies. All five of the white geese were present. There was Japanese Zelkova, Hawaiian Hibiscus, Brazilian Rosewood, Nutmeg Hickory, and Green Ash.
Most of the ladies were still undecided about which gander they wanted to be with. The youngest of the ladies liked Boxelder Maple because of his lean, tall self and dark stripe running down from his head along the back of his neck. Some liked European Rowan because of his decent size and knob. And his voice and proud personality. But even more admired Ohio Buckeye because of his gentleness. Though he was big he was rather low in the gander's pecking order because he was gentle and shy and never wanted to pick a fight with another gander.
Because of this he had won some of the white geese to his side and Green Ash. Rowan often chased Buckeye in order to defend his ladies but eventually this would turn out to be a bad decision.
my name is Emily
I have twenty-six geese. I hatch a bunch of goslings because I want a lot of people to have geese. I do not see them everywhere but I want to! The goslings are the sweetest baby birds I know! The adult males are proud and can be cranky but have their sweet moments while the females are shy and sweet all at the same time.