Behaviors: Eye Contact
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.
Bonding with Geese
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!
White geese: UPDate!
I have been raising Gray African/Chinese geese for two years now and I have heard about the white geese. People often have them alongside a gray goose in pairs. I had been speculating on changing to Roman geese until I found out that they are very likely to have defects but white Chinese geese would make up for that. I believe they are supposed to have blue eyes like all the other white geese but I am not sure. White Chinese geese are supposed to have a colorless gene instead of a white gene. Making everything regarding breeding totally different.
My slow and adorable goose named Tupelo was quite a marvel when she first feathered out. Typically a young goose when he or she first feathers out will have a bunch of speckled feathers on their chest and the chest will look brownish. But Tupelo was an exception. Her chest feathers were cream. Apart from the chest feathers there are the tail feathers. Most geese will have sloppy coloring on their tail feathers. Each tail feather has a gray spot in the middle outlined by a thick white border. Sometimes that spot is not all that perfect and has a mixture of white on it. Other times the top half of the tail feather can be white while the bottom half is gray with some of both color mixed in. So it is rather crazy when first feathering out and can stay crazy even past that.
Willow's Flock Naming SyStem
The Children of Sassafras
geese on a hay bale
I knew very little about what geese did, why they did it, and what they enjoy doing. One of the things they love most is to get up onto higher objects such as hay bales, cinder blocks, etc. I would assume they like these higher places because it means they are sort of in the sky. Like they are flying. The instincts of flying are still somewhat there in these domesticated geese but they cannot go anywhere. Apart from the instincts of being up in the sky, they also just like to have some fun. Most of their fun involves pecking at things and swimming around in the water. They may just stand there on the hay bale or whatever the thing is or they might also be grabbing pieces of hay or pecking at the thing.
I had originally decided on four types of eye-colors: Sassafras, Cherry, Ash, and Wide Eyes. This proved incredibly complicated because the Sassafras and Cherry eye-colors proved to be very similar except for one gander with the Cherry eye-color. But that was one goose. I decided to merge Sassafras and Cherry and simply go with Brown. Sassafras was named after one of my geese who passed this eye-color on to three of her offspring. I used Cherry because this color I considered to have a reddish look to it. I kept Ash and Wide Eyes although they may prove to be complicated sometimes as well.
What I am breeding for
my name is Emily
I have twenty-eight 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.