Callie is making herself right at home in the goose flock.

She is the only survivor of an apparent irresponsible small farm owner who lived in a rural Franklin County town. All of Callie’s sisters and brothers, a small flock of chickens and several other small animals were abandoned, as I’ve been told, to fend for themselves. Most were run over as they wandered around the back road.

A neighbor learned of my interest in geese and called me to ask if I’d like this one remaining goose, a lovely gray-and-white Toulouse, who had been hanging around her porch.

I was worried at first that she might be a he. Female geese have a much easier time fitting into a flock, while males are attacked by the resident ganders. But luckily, after listening to her low-pitched honk, I knew she was a girl. Female geese have a low-pitched honk and males have a higher pitched one.

Catching her was a bit of a challenge. She had been making her home on the neighbor’s porch for several weeks and had the general run of the place. She wasn’t about to be captured.

After two days of trying to catch her, Callie wandered into a small shed, the door was shut, and she had no place to go. My husband and I successfully nabbed her and placed her in a pillow case, then carefully situated her in the hatch of my car and took her home.

She was amazingly quiet. No loud honks or cries of fear.

Before we ever got her out of the pillow case, we clipped her wings. We don’t have to do that any longer with the other geese who can fly because they are so accustomed to the flock. They aren’t going anywhere, except by foot, sometimes.

Then she was placed in a small wire cage and put in the goose pen. For an hour or so, the other geese displayed their natural curiosity by sniffing out the cage and Callie, and encircling this strange addition to the pen. My resident juvenile delinquent, Blackberry, who attacks anything, regardless of the size or gender, stuck his beak in, but in general, no one seemed particularly upset.

Then the moment of reckoning arrived.

I let her out, and nothing happened. She happily helped herself to the corn in the food dish, some of the male geese joined her, and the queen of the flock, Susie Q, pecked softly at her, just to let Callie know that she was the leader of the females.

Since then, Callie has behaved just like every other goose. She wanders into the coop every now and then, pecks at the snow, gobbles up the corn, greens and bread I scatter every day. I haven’t seen any of the ganders trying to mate with her yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.

Finny behaves around her the same as he does with every other female goose. Not much mating going on, but I’m still in hopes of eventually having “grand-geese” from my wonderful pet gander.

I feel good that I was able to save at least one goose that had been abandoned. But I do wonder about people who believe they have the right to just pick up and leave their domestic animals.

Domestic animals, including geese, can’t look after themselves. They are not the beautiful, wild, self-sufficient Canada geese we often see flying high up in the sky. Domestic animals are accustomed to people and being cared for by us.

Callie has brought much to the flock. My gorgeous and intelligent flock is once again made up of an equal number of males and females, and although Callie isn’t as smart (yet) as Sal-Gal was, it’s nice to have another gray-and-white goose. I’ve missed Sal-Gal since she died a few months ago. Except for Finny, the Toulouse, commonly called gray-leg farm geese, are my favorites.

I’m so glad she fit right in. And I’m sure she is much happier with a flock, too. Geese, like so many other birds, live in flocks.

I thank the neighbor who called me. Callie is a wonderful, sweet goose.

Eileen Adams has been raising geese for 10 years. She may be reached at [email protected]


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