First, one little, fluffy head poked out from under Dufey’s soft, white feathers. Then a second one did.

My 4-year-old goose hatched two goslings, peeping and exploring almost immediately. I’ve named them Ossie and Gossie. One has dark legs with great big feet, the other has orange legs and big feet.

I am so pleased they hatched. I really didn’t think any of my females would produce a clutch this year, particularly Dufey. She has been so harassed by the male geese in the flock that I didn’t think she had sat long enough to hatch one, but she did.

I didn’t want to take any chances Saturday afternoon, so despite Dufey’s loud, honking protests, I removed both goslings and placed them in a large, hay-lined plastic box under a heat lamp in the garage. I also directed Dufey into the garage where she was not happy because she couldn’t get into the box and sit on them.

I let Seb into the garage, too. He is 10 years old and knows very well how to look after new goslings. He may or may not be the father, but it really doesn’t matter. He knows how to father, to protect, and he even hisses at me when I walk by the small pen the whole family now occupies.

It’s been a challenge to make sure they don’t go wandering outside the pen.

Any little space between the ground and the fence wire seems to be enough for goslings to crawl through. When they do, Dufey and Seb let out a loud shriek, telling me to come get them.

Just as the adult geese eat cracked corn, bread crumbs and greens, the little ones do the same. Not knowing any better, they may try a piece of hay or even an insect. But geese are vegetarians so they soon settle into eating what is their usual diet.

My greatest concern is for their safety.

Last year, six goslings hatched and I was overjoyed. But one died of an illness, and the rest got outside of the pen and most likely encountered a raccoon or fox, so I had no little ones to watch grow.

I don’t know the gender of Ossie and Gossie, but I hope they are females. Males almost always fight with other males for the top of the pecking order. Females are far easier to get along with and seem to be happy when they have a nest and plenty of food. However, that isn’t always the case.

My 2-year old white and glossy Plum Blossom very often tries to take on the old lady of the group, Susie-Q, who is 10 years old, and even takes swipes at her troublesome brother, Blackberry. I must say, though, that Blackberry always deserves it.

With the mating season ending in a few weeks, Ossie and Gossie may be the only little ones for this year. None of the other girls are laying much and no one is sitting on a nest.

The two new fluff balls will be my main focus this year, and how I love to watch them grow, develop distinct personalities and become gorgeous geese.

Eileen Adams may be reached at [email protected]


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