The geese obviously can’t read a calendar.
They usually don’t think about breeding until around January, but — well, let’s just say things are getting very noisy and a lot of wing-flapping is going on around the pool these days. I don’t even have all the breeding pens set up, but at least goose pens go up quickly. I just hope I don’t end up needing more than 4 pens.
At least this gives me a good start on identifying the ones I had some doubt about. Last spring I knew who every goose was, and could easily tell the adults from the babies. I was planing to band them all (mostly to better identify the babies, since I hadn’t yet gotten to know their personalities well) then suddenly, everyone changed!
The goose with the gray feathers (Playgirl – named because she claimed the two biggest ganders as her own and refused to settle down and set on eggs for a LONG time) … Playgirl lost her gray feathers and turned all white. The babies lost their fluff and their moustaches, and one of them grew as large as his father and looked exactly like him. So I could still tell most of them apart, but not all. Add to that my lack of confidence in being right 100% of the time when I sex geese, and I was left without knowing for sure who my planned breeding pairs were. So, I had to raise most of the remaining babies in order to be sure I didn’t sell any of my breeders or send them to the table.
They are all banded now. I can’t find commercial bands big enough for them, so they have as assortment of brightly-colored zip ties fastened on one or the other leg or both. In watching how they interact now with breeding season coming up, I’m much more able to identify who’s who. I think pretty soon I’ll have their names/behavior matched back up with the birds, and I will know who needs to be paired off, and who needs a private nest, and who is likely to need her eggs to be fostered to the ‘Scovies, and who I can sell to the lady down the road with the lonesome goose girls.
It will be good to get back to business as usual, and not have this stampeding herd of geese running around out of control and mostly unidentified. Next time, the bands go on early!