Finny and the flock, Pekins and Khaki Campbell ducks wish everyone a great Christmas

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Trying to get my beautiful goose flock to pose — more or less — in front of a bright red bow proved impossible.

Even with some fresh celery that they love, they would not get anywhere near where I had hung the bow. But as soon as I removed it — sure enough — they gobbled up the thin, green, crunchy stalks.

Everything is pretty quiet in the goose pen, despite several new additions to my bird menagerie.

Finny and the flock know there is something in the chicken coop just across from the side of their pen. They aren’t sure what, but they know something unusual is there.

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A couple of weeks ago, I decided to add ducks that would reliably produce eggs to my collection.

So now, Millie and Tillie are housed in the chicken coop, and Billie keeps them company. Perhaps this will produce a fertile clutch in the spring.

When I go outside to feed and water all my lovely feathered creatures, I spend more time with these wonderful brown Khaki Campbell ducks. And every other day, one large duck egg is waiting for me to bring it inside.

The eggs are just slightly larger than a large chicken egg and oh, so delicious. They are wonderful to use in baked goods as well.

When we first got the ducks, they would swirl around in fear as I entered the coop to change their water and give them fresh pellets, bread scraps and water. Now, two weeks later, they still aren’t sure just how safe I am, but they don’t go into spinning fits.

Finny, however, is not happy that I am spending time with them. He points his beautiful orange beak toward the chicken (now duck) coop and lets out a piercing scream when I enter. When I re-emerge from the coop, he hurries to the front of his pen to see me and to be reassured that he is, in fact, still my favorite feathered friend.

He doesn’t have to worry about that.

He will forever be my favorite, despite his leadership of the goose flock and his independence, and pretty, pure-white Plum Blossom jostling for that honor. Finny still likes me to feed him by hand and he continues to play with my hair.

Plum Blossom continues to make her wants very well known and cuts in on Finny when I hand-feed them cracked corn, lettuce, celery, bread or any other goodie they all enjoy. I feel pretty sure she’ll produce a clutch of large, white eggs when the mating season begins in March.

With four female geese, I am also assured that we will have more than enough huge eggs to use ourselves as well as share with friends and family. I also hope a few will hatch. I so much missed watching tiny goslings grow into huge geese during the last mating season.

Meanwhile, Silas and Molly, my two large, white Pekin ducks, keep pretty much to themselves in their “doghouse” located on the front side of the goose pen. Despite lining the house that had been intended for our old golden retriever, Dusty, with lots of fresh hay, Silas and Molly seem to prefer to stay outside. Dusty has long since joined us in the house with our three fuzzy cats.

All is peaceful in the three pens. Each goose or duck has grown its warm, thick down coat which protects them from the cold.

Each is happy to see me in the morning and gives me a welcoming honk or quack.

Now all I have to do is wait for March, when we’ll be inundated with mating calls and nests constructed by the girls, filled with lots and lots of eggs.

Each of us, in our own way — whether by honks, quacks, or words — wish everyone a wonderful Christmas.

Eileen Adams has been raising geese for a decade, and ducks, every so often. She may be reached at petsplants@midmaine.com

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