There’s lots of changes going on inside and around the goose coop — not all good, that’s for sure.

Sam, one of my original white, fluffy-feathered Sebastopol ganders, is not allowed inside the coop. Whenever I try to reintroduce him to the flock, he is vehemently attacked by the mighty Finny.

A few days ago, I looked out the window and saw eight of my nine geese wandering around the backyard. But no Sam.

Then I looked at the back gate to the goose pen and discovered that something had opened to it during the night. A long, wide-ranging search for Sam led to finding him next to the woods with a bite near his left eye. Most of his feathers had been removed from his long neck.

Poor thing.

Apparently, one of those overly clever raccoons had opened the gate, let the geese out, then attacked Sam.

After catching him, my husband and I cleaned his wounds with soap and water. But he is now banned from the rest of the flock, and spends most of his time in a large tub in the garage, pitifully calling for his feathermates.

As I have learned — and learned again when I tried to reintroduce him to the flock — an injured goose is a target for all the others.

And my Finny, who is truly becoming an alpha male, was the first to attack, followed by his adopted goslings, Blackberry and Plum Blossom.

So, I caught poor Sam again, placed him in the garage with food, water and the last of the broccoli greens. Now I wait.

So far, he seems to be healing and is not infected.

Geese have their own code of ethics, just like most wild or semi-wild animals. If a penmate is injured, he or she must be annihilated — or get better and learn to fend for himself or herself all over again.

The drama in the pen continues. I’ve seen it before.

Meanwhile, my Finny continues to teach Blackberry and Plum Blossom about eating from my hand, and chewing on my hair. I really think he plans to become the chief of the flock eventually; however, I suspect that his brother, Shamus, won’t allow that.

Shamus showed Finny who is boss a few months ago, when I finally integrated Finny into the flock. Ever since then, the two brothers and two goslings have been one flock, occupying one end of the pen, and the other five formed another flock at the opposite end, with Sam in the lead — until his injury.

They are so fascinating to watch. One flock will eat out of one food dish, and the other will eat out of the second one.

The same thing goes with the kiddie pool and water dishes. If one flock is occupying them, the other leaves them alone.

Blackberry is most definitely a gander. He attacks whomever Finny goes after, while Plum Blossom stays a bit behind. I’m hoping when Plum Blossom matures — most likely next spring — she will become Finny’s mate.

So far, from what I’ve seen, Finny has yet to mate — and oh, how I want grand-geese!

Two more feathered critters are now making their home here, too, right across from the goose pen. Lily and Lulu, Muscovy ducks, were no longer wanted by a local farmer. So, remembering how wonderful duck eggs tasted when I had Missy and Sissy (an entirely different breed), I took them in and placed them in the small “doghouse” pen. I’ve lined it with hay, and set out grain and water. They seem to be getting along just fine, but there are still no eggs. Maybe in the spring.

Unlike other breeds, Muscovy ducks don’t quack; they just make strange gurgling noises. But in their own way, they are fascinating to watch, particularly when they walk. Their unusually long necks swing right to left in a waving motion. Interesting.

Finny and the flock watched them for a while, but soon lost interest.

As for Sam, if he doesn’t successfully make it back into the flock this fall, I think I may have a goose living in the garage for the winter.

I certainly miss Finny, who always waited for me and called when he heard me walking through the back hall and into his domain last winter. This will be Finny’s first winter in the goose coop. I’m hoping that both flocks will get along so they can each take shelter in what will soon be a warm coop lined with piles of hay.

If not, my husband has already said he would place a wall between the two sides of the coop, to create makeshift “apartments” for each flock.

For now, we’ll wait and see what happens.

Ah, I hear geese calling. I hope Sam is OK.

I may be reached at [email protected]


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