GEESE- Before I moved to a rural area, I had not had anything to do with geese, apart from having eaten them as a youngster whilst living in Sydney.
My partner suggested we breed geese when we first got to the farm.
I was hesitant as I knew nothing about them, however agreed in the end and we set out to buy our first pair of geese.
That was perhaps our first mistake - not researching it enough, as within a few days, we only had one goose left as foxes had got the other one.
We then quickly built a goose house which was rather elaborate.
I was of course horrified, as I cannot stand killing of animals, and also due to the fact that geese mate for life -what would this odd goose do now -how would he recover?
Of course it was ME who needed to recover as the goose DID recover and went on to mate. However it was quite pitiful the first few days until we got more -the goose would go on the water and "scream" -to me he was crying for his mate, but I do not know if this was actually the case.
This first goose was called Oose, and he went on to be the only male that we kept.
Geese all have different personalities and mine were rather cheeky. Once I had fed them by hand, they kept coming up to the house to look for me or rather for the food that I provided them with.
Looking into our back verandah
Our next venture was to get some llamas to protect the geese, and ducks, which we also had by now.
After we had the llamas, we did not have any more problems with the geese and predators.
Geese are rather noisy animals, and Oose was the noisiest as "head of the household" -he would squawk when anyone came down our drive and indeed squawk when there was a snake around.
He warned us of two snakes in our backyard on separate occasions.
However, Oose never turned out to be the friendliest goose, nipping me at every opportunity he got.
The females were more friendly, however seemed to be a bit passive and if Oose made a noise, they would follow him and not come to me.
Geese were easy to breed -apparently the success rate of the eggs hatching is high if the geese live on water a lot of the time, which ours did.
We ate some of the eggs and let them sit on others as we did not want so many geese around.
We also had ducks and they both swam separately from each other and we housed them separately at night.
Here is an egg just starting to hatch -the shell is extremely tough.
You can see the head
It was delightful to have goslings around however Oose was extremely protective and did not like us touching them.
Holding a gosling so they would get used to humans
They cannot go on the lake for the first few weeks as they would drown, so we made a little water container for them for the first few weeks.
In the water bowl!
Casually lazing about
We slowly progressed to letting them in slightly deeper water when they were older.
Mum and goslings sitting in their water bowl
During this time, the adult geese also had to be content with not going on our lake but perhaps this was a bit much, expecting her to fit in this bowl, so she sat and sulked.
Will she fit in here?
At times the mum was rather selfish!
Move over and let ME in too
At last, a place to rest and stretch my wings.
This was another gaggle of geese we bred, and these were white and grey which is not as sought after as the pure white ones.
All in all, geese, although sometimes unfriendly to humans, are a treat to watch and breed, especially if you have a lake to watch them swim on.
I will always remember my time with Oose and his families.