The two flocks of geese are in one pen and peace reigns. But it came at a very high price.

Beginning two weeks ago, the three remaining goslings and one of my big ganders came under attack by a huge, masked, four-legged vicious critter. So now my flock of 12 has been reduced to just eight.

The raccoon got Buttercup and Suesun first, then a couple of days later, Grayson. Each time, the remaining flock was so quiet that I knew something terrible had happened when I went out to feed and water them each morning.

We set a trap after the first disappearance and baited it every night, but the raccoon didn’t bite.

A few days after the disappearance of the three half-grown goslings, I went out to the pen as I do every morning to feed everyone, and the flock was again quiet.

There, lying on the ground was Sam, wounded and dead.

Advertisement

I was quite shocked that the raccoon would go after a full-grown gander. Usually, they go for young ones or ill creatures.

Sam was a wonderful gander. He was one of the three original geese I bought nearly 10 years ago to start my flock. He and his brother, Seb, and their sister, little Sally, were gorgeous Sebastopol geese, with pure white, long and fluffy feathers.

Sally died several years ago from what I believe was a “female illness,” because she always suffered when trying to lay an egg.

Seb was once the ruler of the flock, and Sam was his sidekick. Finny replaced the older gander about a year ago, much to Seb’s unhappiness.

Now, Seb is unhappy again and quite lonely.

He wanders around the pen, looking for his brother. Sam and Seb were not only brothers, but also best buddies from the time Seb ruled the flock to now, with Finny reigning.

Advertisement

I never expected a raccoon to come inside the pen and attack a full-grown goose.

The baited trap finally succeeded the night after Sam’s death. Apple jelly seemed to do the trick to catch the biggest raccoon we had ever seen. My husband estimated his weight at 40 pounds or so, and very healthy.

The raccoon is now a member of the great critter heaven in the sky and won’t do anymore harm. The trap is still set every night, but so far no other raccoon has appeared, and I don’t think another one is anywhere nearby.

Just to be on the safe side, though, we herd the remaining geese into their coop when the sun goes down and lock them in, something we’ll do until the temperature turns colder and any wandering raccoons will have found a warm place to spend most of their time.

My plans for watching Grayson, Buttercup and Suesun grow up and develop their own unique personalities are gone now. Instead, I’ll continue to watch Blackberry and Plum Blossom grow up, the brother and sister who hatched 18 months ago. They are turning into fabulous geese, and both are so beautiful in their own way.

Blackberry is turning into a stockier, smaller Finny with gray-and-white Sebastopol feathers. Plum Blossom is the most perfect female goose I’ve ever had.

Advertisement

She has extremely tight, smooth, pure white feathers and looks like she is made of porcelain. She also has quite an attitude for a female goose. She’ll often peck at her brother, prompting him to defend himself.

Then, like a little sister who hits her big brother and when the brother defends himself, the parent blames the boy. Finny did the same when Blackberry pecked back at Plum Blossom. Amazing. They are so much fun to watch.

But as the days grow shorter and the temperature cooler, I’m trying to become accustomed to seeing just the eight geese — four boys and four girls.

Seb is the only one remaining from my original flock. I hope he finds goose solace with Dufey and Sammie. He’ll still be on the outs with Finny and Shamus as they continue to rule the flock.

I hope I get the usual, loud, squawky goose greeting every morning and no more tragedies occur.

And I look forward to another mating and hatching season next spring, and perhaps a few more goslings to watch grow into unique geese.

This year’s “crop” of goslings began so positive, with a record of six hatchlings. It wasn’t meant to be.

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


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: