Saturday, March 28, 2009

Say Hello to...My Geese!

I would like to introduce everyone to my two domestic geese -- Sydney and Phoenix. No doubt, there will be several stories and photos about them on this blog because they share my backyard with my garden. When people talk about "child-proofing" their homes, I need to "goose-proof" my garden! Otherwise, if they can reach it, they will eat it!

Literally, FOR YEARS, I have threatened to get some chickens. Excuse after excuse later, I never took the plunge! As a frequent visitor to my local feed store, I have been tempted on numerous occasions -- all kinds of chickens, Guineas, and even peacocks. I wouldn't bite, for some reason. Last May, right before Memorial Day weekend, I spied a crate of baby geese. I picked up one, cuddled it, and that was it! That goose became my Sydney. Of course, it needed a companion, so I chose the smallest goose, who was totally getting trampled by the others. That goose became my Phoenix. It was love at first site!

This was not the best time to acquire these babies! In a few days, I had thirty-plus relatives coming to town for my parents 50th anniversary which I was hosting -- in my backyard, where the geese were! Yes, I got them on a whim, which is not necessarily the best way to take on something you have no prior knowledge of ! However, I fly by the seat of my pants, mostly. It's how I garden, too, by the way. To make a long story short, they were the hit of the party with my young cousins! wonderful to get to honor your parents at such a milestone and share it with so many of your relatives! It was great!

But, I needed to be a quick study in raising geese. Luckily, there are many websites available with excellent information, plus I was able to connect with the farm where they were born to learn how to care for them -- and how to protect them. Being on the coast, I already knew that gulls were a threat to young waterfowl and I needed to be vigilant.

Young geese look surprisingly familiar and I had no idea at first what kind these might be. Eventually, I learned that Sydney is a Chinese goose and Phoenix is an African. When they both laid eggs, I knew they were females! For the record, Plymouth geese are the easiest to identify sex by their eye color. Otherwise, unless you probe -- you get what I mean -- it's a crap shoot!

Ten months later, my Girlie Girls (as I call them!) are so funny and I have so enjoyed them! Syd has had some health issues, which are a whole other post. They coexist with my dogs and my cats and we are just one big happy family in our little corner of the world!
(P.S. -- I am still trying to maneuver how to post photos -- the one above is me hand-feeding Phoenix. I promise I will figure out how to post more than one so you can see Syd!)

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