Geese

The Price of Goose Eggs

 The culprit, looking all innocent on the day he arrived at Moxie Ridge

The culprit, looking all innocent on the day he arrived at Moxie Ridge

Did you know that geese can kick? Did you know they can kick HARD?

I should preface this by saying it's possible it's just my geese - one in particular. Iceman is the head gander of my little flock of Pilgrim geese here at the farm. Just like his namesake, he's got blue eyes and a bit of an aggression issue. Now normally, Iceman and I have an understanding. About once every 3 weeks or so, we renew that understanding when I gently but firmly stretch his neck out and press his body to the ground, mimicking the submissive mating pose of a goose. He yells about it for about 15 seconds, then takes a deep breath and relaxes. Then we're good for another 3 weeks. Usually.

Pilgrim geese normally only lay in the Springtime and only lay about 60 eggs a year. One of my girls, Patches, got a bit confused this year and started laying in the Autumn. It's her first time laying and I'm thinking she may have gotten confused with the weather we had coming into Fall, and this is why you'll see fresh goose eggs at the Moxie Ridge market stands this Winter. Her nest is meticulously maintained in Duckingham Palace (a general waterfowl pun was as close as I could get to goose, don't judge) where she is tucked away and feels safe. This happens to be right next to my breeding bucklings pen.

 Patches's nest in Duckingham Palace

Patches's nest in Duckingham Palace

One day earlier this month, I was cleaning up the property around the bucklings and noticed that Iceman was agitated. Confident that my recent "reset" of our relationship would hold, I went about my business thinking that even if he were to act out (he hasn't since he arrived this Summer) that goose bites are not very painful particularly when one is wearing pants. What I did not realize is that he was on high alert serving as a lookout/guard for the nesting female. I walked right between him and the nest.

What happened next was very impressive, even in the painful moment. Iceman gave his warning behavior, and when I kept walking, he reached out and bit my leg at the knee with a quick strike.  When that produced no reaction, he struck again, only this time he held on with his beak, jumped in the air, and hauled the rest of his body into my knee using his apparently very strong neck.

He connected with the side of my left knee, just under where he was biting my pant leg, and he must have hit just right and nailed a nerve or something because HOLY WOW was it painful. Honestly it felt like someone hit me with a small wooden mallet and the bruise that blossomed 36 hours later was frankly a relief - proof that I wasn't overreacting to the pain. It was the size of my hand and I'm pretty sure it contained every color of the rainbow.

 The goods

The goods

Factor in the cost to feed and care for the geese (and what it takes to deal with their prolific pooping abilities), then add Iceman's martial abilities, and you now have a very good idea why my goose eggs cost $4 each.