Fred, generalissimo of the goose gaggle, is looking downright sorry these days. He has had most of his feathers plucked away and we are still in the grip of winter! Loud honks and squawks from the goose yard led to a recent inspection and it appears the two young males, Ricky and McGill are picking on their father. Poor Fred has a limp from an altercation with a fox (or possibly a bobcat) last autumn that left him nearly crippled, and while he has healed and gets around quite well, he’s not the man he used to be. And he is certainly in no condition to endure continued attacks from Ricky and McGill! What could cause this close-knit little goose family to split apart in savage attacks on each other? And why isn’t Ethel, his partner for life, defending him?
It soon became clear what was going on, and right in the front yard of all places! Fred was mating with Lucy, one of his offspring and my favorite little female that we raised in the house last winter. It appears there has been a divorce and Ethel has sided with the youngsters and has been seen taking a peck at old Fred along with the rest of the gang. There must be a high-priced lawyer under the woodpile! So much for goose fidelity. If this keeps up, old Fred will wear himself out trying to chase Lucy and Esmay and defend himself from Ricky, McGill and Ethel. Not to mention the foxes, bobcats, raccoons, wild dogs, guineas, eagles, owls and other assorted dangerous critters a poor goose has to contend with. He is after all the defender of his little flock and he takes the responsibility quite seriously. He has on several occasions bitten me for no apparent reason, but I now find myself feeling quite sorry for the old reprobate.
This dandy young fellow is the heir apparent to Fred’s “rule of the roost” so to speak. He is not nearly as ornery as his father and has never exhibited aggressive behavior toward us, possibly because we raised him from a hatchling. To keep the peace we should arrange for a goose swap and introduce some new genetics into the mix. Ricky will need a mate and we don’t wish to encourage any more incest, infidelity and ruckus in the barnyard!