Monday, January 2, 2012

Clover and Toulouse

We never name animals. Some arrive here with names, but we don't name things on this farm. Our Toulouse geese have names..Clover is the male, and the more aggressive of our 2 geese.

We found them on craigslist. Clover had kept the neighbor of his former owner inside their own house..if they tried to open the door and leave he chased them right back in. He is not a small fellow, and when Toulouse backs him up and the 2 of them come after you it is intimidating. The neighbor told the former owner "that is how lawsuits happen"..and 2 days later the goose and gander were here at Sunnyside Farm.

We fenced our perimeter when we moved here. After leasing land for years we had lost too many animals to the fox and wanted to try all means to keep the fox, hawk and dogs off our property. These 2 geese patrol the entire farm, and make enough noise, day or night, summer or winter, to keep things away..or to come and get us so we get unwanted visitors off the farm.

The former owners were not certain if they were a breeding pair. We got them young so no one knew. There are ways to determine the sex of a bird but we don't know such things.

If you look at this photo there are subtle but distinct differences. The male has a longer neck and the female is a low rider. She lays eggs only in the spring, one about every day for two months, and they are big eggs. Some days she can barely move, and then as summer heats up she is out and about again. He almost always positions himself with her behind him, he is always out front, on guard, watching.

In the next 12 weeks, as the weather changes from frozen back to warm and the water goes back to being liquid, these two make it obvious they are a breeding pair.

Everyone says geese have only one mate, and mate for life. We would never test this..Clover is mean enough that we would hate to see what he does to any other geese we might introduce..so we won't. Lifetime of this type of goose is 17-20 years, and these 2 are about 3 years old so we have a while to go with them yet.

Must be why they have names.

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