Finny discovers blackberries

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Finny has found a new love —  half-ripened blackberries!

Who knew geese liked berries?

I knew, from trying to feed my favorite feathered friends citrus and apple peelings and other fruity things, that they didn’t like anything sweet. That is, until Finny tried an almost-ripe blackberry.

His big, orange beak carefully took the berry from my hand, and he immediately gobbled it down.

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Now, whenever I head out back, he immediately looks up at the mass of blackberry bushes shading a big section of pen. Unfortunately, his blackberry-eating days will soon be over, and I will have no way to explain to him that such treats arrive only in August.

Blackberry the goose, who was named after the thorned berry patch, has no interest whatsoever in eating blackberries, just like most geese.

Finny’s flock, with Summer and Solstice growing so quickly, and Seb’s flock, with Ossie and Gossie also growing like weeds,  are both doing so well.

The 2- and 3-month-olds are predominantly gray, just like their mother, Susie-Q. They are just so beautiful.

I doubt, though, whether the two flocks will merge come autumn. Finny is extremely territorial and he does not want Seb’s flock anywhere near his. Little does Finny know that Seb is his father. Whenever I let both flocks out to graze, they first shriek at each other, then one flock hightails it in one direction, and the second flock makes a beeline in the other.

As my geese have done for all of these years, they continue to provide me with so much entertainment, including some uproarious laughter. I can’t imagine having a geese-less backyard.

That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be vigilant, though.

All of them know exactly where the lettuce and spinach are planted in the garden, as well as the precise location of the abundant cabbages and Brussels sprouts with their succulent, tasty leaves. They also know that I grow several window boxes of lettuce on the front porch.

Although I wish they could roam freely, the road in the front of the house is a real danger, so I must keep a fairly close watch on them when they are out grazing.

Finny still believes that I am either his mother or maybe a potential mate and often comes to me so I can feed him clover, dandelion leaves or overripe lettuce or spinach out of my hand. He’s the first to talk to me in the morning and the last to retreat to the coop or back of the pen in the evening. He lets me know when the water supply is low and when the food dish could use some refilling.

At 3 years old, he is full-grown and a beautiful gray and white gander.

Such joy Finny and the others have given me — I hope this continues for years.

Eileen M. Adams has been raising geese for about a dozen years. She may be reached at petsplants@midmaine.com.

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