On onerous hormones

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This bill was made for pinching

(Good golly I wonder what kind of blog traffic I will get with that post title.)

Spring!  Yes, spring:  cute little fuzzy chicks and goat kids and all that; lovely little bulbs poking through cold soil, little seedlings growing under their lights, mild breezes…what’s not to like about SPRING?

Well, around here, this wonderful season coincides with our male poultry’s sexual maturity.  For months now, the tom turkey has been strutting his stuff (and mostly ignored).  One gander, the Christmas goose who never got cooked, has turned fire-spitting mean.  He doesn’t hiss at me as I am She Who Brings Food, but he’s flown at and pinched our daughter and has given both Tom and the dog the bum’s rush any time they come near.  I thought:  well, fine, that Christmas goose shall soon be cooked, leaving us with the nice gander and the nice goose.

Until this weekend, that is, when I saw the Nice Gander sitting on the nest and laying an egg.

How could I be so wrong?  This goose (because that’s what she is) is huge, and also fairly aggressive toward the dog and my husband.  The other goose, well, looks like a goose:  she’s delicate, she’s actually nice, she sits on the nest box a lot.  Ah.  What to do now:  I still don’t need three geese.

My daughter remains confused by the whole turnabout with the gander’s behavior.  In about three short months he went from an easily petted, come-up-to-you-for-food kind of guy, and liked being around the girl.  Now, well, now he attacks.  “It’s not his fault,” I told her, “he’s actually just kind of sick.  He’s got this thing called ‘testosterone poisoning.'”

“Will he get better, or will you kill him, Mama?” she asked.

“Well, let’s hope we all learn to get along, kiddo.  You have to be careful around him, and he has to be careful around anyone, or else.”

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12 responses to “On onerous hormones

  1. “Will he get better, or will you kill him,?”
    I’ve asked myself that same question about some of the guys I work with. Ha!

  2. OMG! Testosterone poisoning!! I love it!! We’ve got our own sufferers at this time of the year as well….but I won’t name names! 🙂

  3. Oh, I’m with farm mom – testosterone poisoning is priceless!

  4. Um, hello? I came here to get my bill pinched? What’s with all the goose stuff? Dumb interwebz.

  5. Testosterone Poisoning! I had to laugh! Boy is that the right name for things!

    And look at that cookiecrum comment! They need to live on a farm!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/

  6. One of my cousins, who went on to breed and raise birds like cockatiels and parrots, had geese when she was a teenager/young adult. Even though she warned us about the hissing and the pinching, I was absolutely floored the first time I saw it.

    All my illusions about Mother Goose shattered!

    And the really weird thing is hearing a bird make that noise, something I always first associate with cats.

    What do you do with the goose eggs? Are they frequent enough to use like chicken eggs (assuming you can brave the hissing and pinching), or is the purpose to hatch them for more geese?

  7. Geese can be used as “watch dogs”. Those of us who had Latin in school will remember the story of the Geese of The Capitol who alerted slumbering so;soldiers that enemies were scaling the walls.

    and their bite can be quite hurtful!!!
    ah, but goose fat…..

  8. Hi El,

    We built a cold frame over the weekend. It looks like we’re not getting approval to build a hoophouse anytime soon, so we thought we’d try this in the meantime. I don’t have a temp gauge in there yet, but I lifted up the cover today and it was roasting. I stuck my meat thermometer(I’m not sure if that’s a great idea) in the soil and it read 60.

    I have seedlings started in the house. Only the lettuces are showing more than 2 leaves…I’m nervous about moving things out there.

    I’ve read in your archives that you plant peas on St. Patty’s day. Directly in the ground, outside of the hoophouse? It sounds so bizarre, but this is my first year gardening. We do have lots of things popping up around here though. My sedum, lillies, chives, and orchids are already several inches high 🙂

    Pop on over to my blog if you want to see our humble weekend construction!

  9. I had geese for awhile and they never even learned that I was she-who-brings-food. They didn’t last.

  10. This Goose is obviously a Republican.

  11. I had to laugh at the testosterone poisoning mention. Finally, a name for what my ex was suffering with!

    Couldn’t you solve your problem with the goose by having everyone bring a treat when they go outside for a while? She might get the idea that you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    Always, great drama from your animals!

  12. Annie, hwah! Yep I’ve met a few guys on some jobsites that were so…inclined. Dangerous with all those tools around! :0

    Angie I was thinking of you when our jenny took off for the woods across the road. She just didn’t know where to lay her egg (now she does, whew)

    Other Angie, but it’s so true!

    CC as ever you crack me up.

    Linda, don’t spook her! I have her on the path to get rid of her whole back yard for a garden, so shhhh!

    Firefly goose eggs are so yummy! I should do a photo comparison; maybe when the guineas start laying again so I can show geese, turkey, chix and guinea eggs. The goose eggs are the same scale (ratio) of white to yolk as regular eggs, just bigger, so one equals 2 or 2.5. Just think: a one-egg omelet! The turkey and guinea eggs both have lots less white. Eventually the idea is to have more geese but right now it’s too cold and they’re not interested in sitting.

    Ah Sylvie I had Latin but somehow missed that story. Goose fat is quite lovely so I think I might just off one of the girls. We’ll see.

    Yay Lindsay! MY GOODNESS what a busy weekend for you. I would look into getting a heat-activated vent (they’re automatic) for those coldframes: they open things up for you to keep things warm, here’s a link to some:
    Bayliss is a reputable company,and you’ll probably just need a small one, about $40. But yes! You can plant peas and fava beans and even potatoes on St. Pat’s day; I will be planting peas and favas myself today. Outside.

    EJ, dumb geese! They still like me so maybe it is all about the grub.

    John, indubitably. Maybe I will call him Nixon, or Rumsfeld.

    Laurene, possibly! Yes we have been trying to coach the geese, it’s still high drama. We just moved their pen again so everyone’s still a bit anxious…and that’s when the poor girl got pinched.

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