Geese Aquarobics

Last December we lost one of our Embden geese ‘Biscuit’ to a tumour. We first noticed a very large lump under her right wing. We got the vet to call and see her, the diagnosis was not good, probably some form of cancer. As the lump was not bothering her much, (her behaviour on the surface at least was quite normal), it was decided to let her enjoy the remainder of the summer. Once she was showing signs of discomfort we would get the vet to put her down. She managed to enjoy the rest of the summer and all of the autumn, it was not until mid December she started to have trouble moving around.

We contacted the vet again and she agreed that the time had come. She called the next day. We managed to catch ‘Biscuit’ and prepared ourselves for the worst. Geese apparently have to be injected through the breast muscle and this can take up to 15 minutes to take effect. Rhona our vet injected her and we just talked to Biscuit and held her head and neck. Told her how much we loved her. Very upsetting the whole thing. For weeks after, both ‘Amber’ and ‘Skye’ kept looking for her. Their body language told us they were still missing her. All three had been together for over 6 years and were very close to each other.

Our two young grey geese on the new pond

Where are the towels?

On a more positive note, in July of this year (2012) we got two grey geese to add to our remaining two white embdens. They were around 12 weeks old I guess. We had already decided that the best bet would be to introduce them to the adults at night, so putting them to bed into the goose coop with the older girls was a bit of a trial. The two embdens were very upset and hissed and jumped around. Anyway we managed to get them in and quickly closed the door. We could still hear the hissing and banging about as we retreated. We feared the worse come the morning.

Geese bathing in ponds

The family sharing the water

The morning dawned and we opened the door, the youngsters were a lot calmer as were the two adults. We picked up the two youngsters and popped them into the mini arboretum which was fenced. The two adults were calling and making a hell of a racket. Poor old ‘Amber’ seemed to be really upset by the whole thing. Anyway ‘Skye’ was making the right noises as she advanced towards the fence where the two goslings were pressed right up to. Fine we thought, we lifted the two youngsters out and placed them on the grass right next to Skye. To cut a long story short, ‘Skye’ adopted them and slowly ‘Amber’ came round and also acted as a mother.

Two weeks later and things are working out just fine. Both adults dote on the two goslings and definately defend their territory when stray hens get too close. The video at the start of this page shows our purpose built goose pond. It cost the earth (don’t ask), the geese love it and spend a fair amount of time paddling, sailing and diving down into the water completely submerged, a worthwhile investment I’d say!

Many months later (February 2013) the goslings are now much larger. They do so enjoy the water, the young grey geese Valerie and Gordon, particularly throw themselves all over the place. The older embden girls, Amber and Skye are a little more restrained. A few days ago the pond was frozen and you could tell they were missing the frolics.

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