Finny wasn’t quite sure what to make of those three brown, tan and black quacking creatures staring at him from inside their own pen.

Finny looked and squawked, then decided maybe they weren’t worth all that effort.

Millie, Tillie and Billie, the three Khaki Campbell ducks, arrived a couple of months ago and have taken up residence in the “chicken” coop. Since we don’t yet have chickens, the sturdy coop and pen, located right across from the edge of the goose pen, is the perfect place for my new feathered friends.

Finny, followed by some of the other geese, have taken turns staring at these strange, small creatures. The ducks, too, have spent quite some time wondering what those huge, gray-and-white critters are.

Silas and Molly, two Pekin ducks lodged in their own pen with their own coop, don’t think too much of the brown ducks across the way, either. Whenever the three new ducks have gotten out and tried to poke their heads into Silas and Molly’s pen, they’ve practically gotten those heads nipped off. Obviously, the two species of duck don’t like each other very much.

The Khaki Campbells are well-known for the number of eggs they lay. For the first couple of weeks, the two girls laid an egg every other day. They’ve quit for the deep winter months, but are expected to begin again before the geese start their annual laying season.

Duck eggs are wonderful. A little larger than a chicken egg, and much more flavorful.

I have had geese for nearly a decade, and although they can be “silly” sometimes, it took getting ducks for me to realize just how much more intelligent geese, especially Finny, of course, can be.

For example, when it gets frigid enough, most of the geese will eventually decide that the hay-lined coop I’ve prepared for them might be a better choice. Not always, of course, but quite often.

Even Silas and Molly have decided that their hay-filled coop will also provide them with some warmth.

Not the Khaki Campbells.

For several nights when the thermometer dropped below zero, I watched my three new pets huddle in the corner of their pen with nothing but wire between them and the snow outside.

I finally decided it was time to introduce them to the coop, although they had spent the first few days there while my husband built them a pen.

I picked each one up, as he or she quacked frantically, and gently tossed them into the coop.

Amazing, they must have thought, it’s warmer here. So now, when the temperature becomes pretty awful, they find their way into the piles of warm hay in the coop.

Meanwhile, back in the goose coop, lonely Seb, who lost his best buddy and brother to a vicious raccoon last autumn, still is pretty much a loner. However, Finny and Shamus no longer pick on him or prevent him from eating or drinking.

And I think Seb, as the oldest goose in the pen, is cultivating a female friend for the upcoming mating season.

He hangs out with Plum Blossom, Dufey or Sammie frequently throughout the day. When March draws closer, he will have decided which goose will be his mate.

Finny and his brother, Shamus, are still strutting their stuff, kings of the coop. But soon, they, too, will choose a mate.

I can hardly wait until the goose-egg laying season begins. I hope they produce lots of baseball-sized eggs for us to eat, and a few goslings for me to watch grow into glorious geese.

All my flocks are wonders to watch. They provide such entertainment, and Finny is still the favorite of all. Although he no longer likes me to hug him, he still prefers me to feed him by hand than to eat from the food dishes.

And when I speak to him, he answers.

Eileen M. Adams may be reached at [email protected]


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