Compassion in World Farming

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A solution for dealing with difficult ganders & drakes?

Louise (grey & white) with Crackle & Pop

We have 2 beautiful geese, Louise & Crackle, and a very handsome gander named Pop. Louise is a West of England goose that we reared from a day old gosling, so she is very special to us. Crackle & Pop came to us as juveniles from a farm that was being wound up & was looking for new homes for them.
Pop, as with any gander I think, can be very aggressive, especially during the breeding season. Most of the time he tolerates me & my sons, as it doesn't do to bite the hand that feeds too often! However, he does have moments when he will come after us as well. If you haven't been on the receiving end of a cross gander with his head down coming right at you it can be very intimidating. Worse still is to have a gander come up behind you & catch you off guard. A peck from that powerful beak is very painful I can tell you - I have had the bruises to prove it!
So it is always a battle of wills with me & that gander! I always make sure I win, of course, because to give him the upper hand would just be a nightmare. But this has involved holding him at arms length by the neck until he backs down, over & over again until he submits - until the next time & then the fun begins again.
HOWEVER, I read a brilliant bit of advice which seems to have worked. It was actually on a page about muscovies & how to cope with an aggressive drake, but I have tried it on Pop & I have to say it has done the job! So for anyone who is struggling with an aggressive bird here's the technique:
Grab the bird firmly by the neck with one hand, press their body down to the ground with the other hand & then ruffle up the feathers across their back. Simple! But you have to be confident in doing this. You need to be firm, but use just enough force to push the bird to the ground without hurting them. You may have to repeat the technique a couple of times, but hopefully, like me, you will find your bird will soon get the message.
I have always been very fond of Pop because he's really quite a character & does such a very good job of taking care of Louise & Crackle. It certainly hasn't hurt to have a 'guard goose' in our little field to sound the alarm if anything has been amiss. But now he & I have a much better relationship, which as geese can live to 20 or so years of age, is a good job for both of us!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sara,
    Just popping over to say hello! Great post on how to deal with ganders. We only have Florence and Felicity - Chinese whites - and both girls, so great to be around. I'd love to rear some of our own geese one day but I think I'll just borrow a gander!
    We were sad to have to dispatch the two drakes as one of them was pure white, but if you'd seen what they did to that poor little was awful to have to deal with. The hen house is very harmonious now and everyone seems to be happy!
    Plus the casserole was so yummy.....!
    Lisa x