Sunday, March 26, 2017

Makes Ya Wonder . . .

One of our male Pilgrim geese, Skidmore, has become quite aggressive.  His less-than-placid personality has made us start to wonder.

To share some background, we specifically chose the Pilgrim breed because one of their traits is that they are supposed to have a calm, non-aggressive, laid back temperament.

The breed of geese we had previously were Shetlands, which look much like the Pilgrims (the two breeds are often confused), but they tend to be a little cranky.  Papa Pea still has a scar on the back of his leg where one of the Shetland males took a chunk out of his calf.

In our search for Pilgrim geese, we were told by hatcheries all over the country that for some reason the fertility rate of that specific breed was at an all-time low and most hatcheries couldn't guarantee they would even have Pilgrim goslings to sell.  It took a lot of time for us to locate a hatchery that agreed to take our order and ship us some Pilgrim goslings when and if they had them to sell.

Luck was with us and we did end up getting Pilgrim goslings from two different hatcheries this past spring along with two pair of adult Pilgrim geese from another source.

Skidmore is one of the goslings we got and he was virtually hand-raised right along with his other hatch mates.

We realize it is breeding season and that can bring out the protectiveness of male geese, but his increasingly nasty personality doesn't seem related to any setting female he's trying to protect.

He's also taken to beating up on the ducks and some of the other geese.


Skidmore giving me the evil eye.

What we are wondering, and we may be completely off base with the thought, is if in an attempt to increase the fertility of the Pilgrim variety of geese, could it be possible that some breeders are introducing a little of the more prolific Shetland genes into the Pilgrim line?  It's just a thought that has occurred to us, but big, aggressive Skidmore seems to be doing a good imitation in personality of a breed of geese other than a Pilgrim.

We're not dispatching Skidmore to the stew pot yet.  We'll give him until breeding season is over to see if he works through this very bad mood of his.

34 comments:

Farmer Barb said...

My girlfriend's Pilgrim gander is a NASTY CUSS. We always have to menace him with big wings and aggressive behavior to keep him away from our legs.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

For his sake, I hope he starts to behave himself! I'm the first to admit that I am pretty wary around geese and have found them to be very aggressive. Wasn't Skidmore the one with the wonky foot? (You'd think he'd show a little gratitude and mind his manners after you tending to his needs when he was little!) -Jenn

Mama Pea said...

Farmer Barb - Well, so much for the mild-mannered Pilgrim geese!

Me, I'm currently carrying a big stick. :o(

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - I think we've all grown up hearing about aggressive geese and how they've scared the beejeezus out of little kids. (And big kids!)

But, no, it wasn't Skidmore who arrived with the wonky foot. That was the little female of the batch, Annie, and she's grown into a little sweetie who gets along just fine with her now only slightly deformed foot.

Cottontail Farm said...

I have my first ever geese coming in the mail this month from Metzer's, 4 super africans. This is pretty much my nightmare. Any tips for polite geese? Or is that a silly question?

Goatldi said...

A couple of thoughts. First off yes there could be more in the woodpile than the breed your ordered. That could change the ball game but I would imagine you may see other give aways. Such as physical traits specific to that other breed. I think however that since the breed is hedging on being endangered population wise that the gene pool has narrowed considerably and perhaps with that the not so desired traits like NGS (Nasty Goose Syndrome) may have been dominate in the individuals used for breeding. Lastly you could be experiencing what is often seen in individuals that are raised by hand. Such as orphaned kittens, bottle raised goats, puppies, calves you name it. You are an equal part of the pack and they are as they mature testing out their dominance skills on you. Just a few mutterings from the goat herd X vet. tech. Good luck and remember to tie your running shoes.

Kristina said...

He looks pretty naughty. And like he's about to run full throttle at you. Golly.

Kev Alviti said...

I'd love some geese to keep the grass down in the Orchard but I fear my wife would leave me she hates them that much!

Cottontail Farm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mama Pea said...

Cottontail Farm - Don't despair. You may have no problems with your geese at all. A friend send me links on the Internet to improving bad behavior by geese that I'm sure you can find too if need be. I haven't had time to study them yet, but plan to do so. I know of folks who haven't had any problems with their geese and our problem could be entirely do to it being breeding season. We'll see.

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - All very good thoughts/suggestions. Thanks for taking the time to jot them down.

It's so muddy here right now that boots rather than running shoes are the order of the day. But I can run fairly well in those clod-hoppers! ;o]

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I scared him off by threatening to bit *him* in the bum if he came closer. I escaped with body and camera intact!

Mama Pea said...

Kev - I think you are wise to choose your dear wife over the geese!

P.S. I know geese are touted as being good to keep grass down in an orchard, but when we've tried that we found they liked to eat the bark off the fruit trees and also any low hanging branches got pruned. So much for that good idea.

Rain said...

You know Mama Pea, that's really interesting...it does make you wonder when suddenly you find a different personality in an animal. Is there any way to check out that breeder? You probably can't do much about it if it is true, but it might be an eye opener. I hope Skidmore shakes that mood, he looks very beautiful in that photo, even with the evil eye!!! Gosh I squirmed a little when I read that Papa Pea got chewed on...that must have hurt! I have a little fear of big birds after being chased by a wild tom in the woods back in 2008!

Kev Alviti said...

I din't know that - I thought they'd be a good lawn mower without damagnig my trees! What about muscovado ducks? Know much about them?

Goatldi said...

If I ever have to run to CYA I will die. I used to be able to run and climb over a cattle panel in under a minute. Not any more muck boots or no muck boots!

Susan said...

Yikes! I have found that, once male poultry start becoming aggressive, there's no going back. That said, I am OFTEN wrong.

gld said...

Goatldi may have hit on something about the hand-raised thing. Our vet has always told us he hates working with hand-raised bulls.....they are the meanest. He always says they aren't meant to be pets.

We have only had one gentle, non-aggressive rooster in our many years of poultry ownership. That is one reason I no longer keep them.

Max got to where he carries a very large stick with him when he went into the chicken yard....I refused to gather eggs when we had rooster. There is something about being hit in the back halfway to the hen house that was more than I could handle!

DFW said...

Had a neighbor that once had a guard goose. He was mean to everyone except his owner. The owner once painted "Go" on the underside of one wing & "Away" on the underside of the other. When visitors would drive up the goose would flap his wings wide (read Go Away) & 'honk' at them. He was relegated to another farm once the grandchildren started coming on the scene.

Vera said...

We had a flock of geese up until last year and we never had any problems with the males. I can't remember what type they were, but they were quite docile. They would have been straight in the pot if they weren't! Hope your goose calms down. Look him straight in the eye and tell him what will happen if he keeps on misbehaving!. Or a sharp thwack with the stick if that doesn't work!

Share my Garden said...

This post reminds me of my childhood when we used to walk up the drive to our house with a big stick to ward off the goose who thought he owned the place! It has put me off owning any geese. Hope yours settles down to better behaviour. I love ducks and used to keep Khaki Campbells, so sweet-natured and good egg layers.

Mama Pea said...

Kev - No, I had not even heard of the muscovado ducks.

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Well, all animals establish their own pecking order and I'm really hoping Skidmore goes back to his amicable self once the mating season is over. So many people have been chased by nasty geese but I think you're the first one I've heard of being chased by a wild tom!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Sure hope you're wrong in this case. But we won't tolerate Skidmore if this is his true personality. Too dangerous with little kiddlies coming to visit and see the birds!

Mama Pea said...

Glenda - I guess we're lucky in that we've only had one bad rooster in all our years of chicken raising. It was when our daughter was young . . . and that was not a good experience for her. :o(

Mama Pea said...

DFW - That's kinda funny! But you're right in that the problems start when small kids are around . . . even on an infrequent basis.

Mama Pea said...

Vera - Or a good swift boot in the butt that lifts him off the ground! Don't know if that would really help or hurt the situation but he's not going to be tolerated much longer if he doesn't shape up!

Rain said...

Trust me, I was just as surprised lol...that thing was huge and it ran really fast! I'm sure it was protecting mama turkey.

Mama Pea said...

Share my Garden - Thanks for commenting! All of our Muscovy ducks have been fine with my husband and me . . . even though one of the males always chases two other males around the yard. And the females are laying lots of eggs right now.

Geese really have a bad reputation, don't they?

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,
Skidmore has recently became aggressive I'm sure he'll settle down soon. Do you think he may be experiencing a medical issue causing the aggression. Or there's a female he's into but she's not.

Hugs
Sandy

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,
Skidmore has recently became aggressive I'm sure he'll settle down soon. Do you think he may be experiencing a medical issue causing the aggression. Or there's a female he's into but she's not.

Hugs
Sandy

FoxyLady said...

My neighbor has some geese that can be rather aggressive too ~ and, now and then they nip someone. So far, they haven't nipped me. I do keep an eye on them when I stop for eggs tho. :)

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I doubt that there is a medical issue with Skidmore because he looks so healthy, eats and drinks and travels all over the poultry pasture all day long. The more I think about it, I think it may well be related to the mating season. Male animals (or birds) tend to want to be the only ones that can mate with the females so have to assert their dominance and, for sure, we have too many male geese right now. We wanted to see who would turn out to be a "good gander" when an adult before culling more of the males. How Skidmore will fit into this category (!) remains to be seen!

Mama Pea said...

FoxyLady - Smart lady! I think they are especially territorial when it comes to what they perceive as strangers!