Finny didn’t waddle to the front of the pen when he saw me emerging from the back door with a pet carrier in each hand. He marched, then he squawked.
As I opened the small pen that surrounds what was once a dog house, each of my newest pets emerged slowly from the carriers. Finny squawked louder. Each of the other geese all hurried to the front of the pen, too, to see what was going on and they started squawking.
There they were, two lovely, bright white Pekin ducks. Each was timid, not sure what they would find as they exited the carriers, but they knew they wanted out. They were surprisingly quiet as I drove them to their new home from their previous home.
Silas and Molly had arrived.
Thanks to a kind couple who wanted to find homes for their 4-month-old ducks, I once again had two of these quacky critters. And these two won’t fly away like the other ducks I have owned, because their wings are far too small for their size.
Pekin ducks are large birds grown for meat in the commercial market. These will never meet that fate. I had once eaten Peking duck many years ago, but that will never happen again. They are my newest pets.
Molly is the smaller of the two. She is sturdy with a large, orange, rounded beak and very small wings for her size.
Her mate, Silas, is somewhat larger with a very thick neck considerably shorter than a goose’s, and wings that look like they should be on a much smaller duck.
They both have very dark eyes, unlike most of my geese that have bright, blue eyes. I’m not sure yet whether the color is deep blue, black or brown.
Molly quacks. Silas doesn’t. He makes a sound that is sort between growling and clicking.
I really like duck eggs so I’m hoping when Molly is old enough, she’ll move into the hay-lined dog house and begin laying.
Meanwhile, my goose flock isn’t really sure what to make of these new strange creatures.
They look across the path to the ducks’ pen and cock their beautiful heads one way then another trying to figure out what they are. When I let them out to graze in the garden, Finny and Shamus, particularly, march over to the duck pen and start squawking at them.
Silas and Molly take it in stride. They seem to realize that the pen between them and the geese will shield them from any danger.
The ducks are also getting used to me. I spent quite a lot of time talking quietly to them and feeding them when I brought them home, so they are learning that I am not a threat.
Watching the reaction of the geese to the ducks has made me rethink whether I will try to put the two species together in the large goose pen. I certainly won’t try it this year. Maybe next spring, once they’ve become more accustomed to each other.
Besides making different sounds from my geese, ducks are also meat eaters.
Geese are vegetarians so I do my best to let them graze during the warm months, and give them celery, lettuce and whatever other greens I can get during the colder months.
Geese also like stale bread, but so far, Silas and Molly won’t eat it. They like insects. I’ve been digging earthworms from the garden for them. Once the ground freezes and I can’t do that any longer, I will search out mealworms or earthworms in bait stores.
Both geese and ducks like cracked corn, so they can survive on that.
With a pair of ducks that arrived together, they may produce some ducklings, too. That is something to look forward to — ducklings waddling behind their mother. But I’ll wait and see what happens.
When spring arrives, some of my female geese will also build nests and hopefully produce some goslings.
Adopting Silas and Molly now seems right as summer ends, fall is in full swing, and winter is not far away.
Meanwhile, Finny continues to be the leader of the flock and Seb is still struggling by himself since his brother Sam was killed. Sometimes, one of my female geese will hang out with him, but he is having a difficult time and I make sure he gets lots of special attention from me.
And all the geese have molted and grown gorgeous new feathers in preparation for the cold winter ahead.
Soon, I will be insulating the goose coop with many layers of hay to help keep them warm, and my snow shovel will be at the back door so I can shovel myself into the pen to feed and water them.
I look forward to what new adventures and antics await me with Finny and the geese, and now Silas and Molly.
Eileen Adams has been raising geese, and occasionally, ducks, for 10 years. She may be reached at [email protected]