Gracie is really Grayson.

My not-so-little gosling, who is 2 months old, is showing definite signs of being a boy.

When this year’s clutch hatched at the beginning of July, I gave them all girl names, figuring I’d know what they really were as time passed.

Well, enough time has passed.

Grayson looks very much like Blackberry, his cousin who was born a year ago, and my fabulous Finny, now 2 years old and boss of the flock.

As the product of a female Toulouse goose and a fluffy, white Sebastopol male, Finny inherited lots of varying shades of gray feathers interspersed with white ones. And he is fluffy, like a Sebastopol, with long, delicate white and gray feathers.

Year-old Blackberry, who also is definitely a male, acting sometimes like a bullying teen, also has these markings.

And now, Grayson.

For such a young gander, he has a lot of nerve. He was recently chasing Shamus, Finny’s brother, and Grayson’s father, who was three times his size. Shamus just ignored him. He goes after the members in Flock 2 quite often, too. These are headed by the two Sebastopol males, who once ruled the flock until Finny came along.

Grayson has not yet tackled Finny, but I fully expect that he will in time. Maybe Blackberry will get a chance to lead the flock in a year or two, but I have no doubt Grayson will rise to the top in time.

The girl goslings, Buttercup and Suesun, are also definitely females. They have smooth, all white feathers without a touch of Sebastopol’s fluffy feathers although they, too, are a cross between Toulouse and Sebastopol.

They look just like Sammie, Dufey, and sweet little Plum Blossom, Blackberry’s sister, and all are Toulouse/Sebastopol crosses.

They also have a much calmer disposition.

Watching goose politics is a fascinating way to spend a little relaxation time.

Until Finny came along and I integrated him into the flock, Seb was the undisputed alpha male. His brother, Sam, was his faithful sidekick. But then, something mysterious happened. Finny decided it was time that he took over the lead, and he showed that in no uncertain terms.

He’d chase Seb and Sam, pull some of their feathers out, and then stand tall and flap his beautiful gray and white wings to show his superiority. He still does this every now and then, just to reaffirm that he is, in fact, king of the flock.

Seb and Sam who were once quite aloof from me have learned that I’m the one who will protect them and they will hide behind me when Finny is in a foul mood. Seb even lets me pat him occasionally, something totally unheard of when he led the flock.

Finny, at more than 20 pounds and a majestic gander, however, is still my “baby.” As soon as I approach the pen, he starts squawking to tell me he wants me in there. So in I go, scooch down, and let him play with my hair while I pat his soft feathers.

I have not yet figured out what the attraction is. He doesn’t eat it. He just plays with it.

Perhaps a memory is buried deep inside his little brain from when he was just a tiny, abandoned gosling, who had been ousted from his mother’s nest. I became his “mother,” flock, and everything else, and he spent hours following me or sitting on my lap playing with my hair.

For now, Finny reigns supreme, but I bet that next year at this time, he may have a run for his money. There’s nothing quite like the goose pecking order.

Eileen Adams has been enjoying her flock’s antics for nearly a decade. She may be reached at [email protected]


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