Post by heavyhitterokra on Aug 4, 2019 8:04:36 GMT -6
I've been so busy this week, it has probably been making my poor Cotton Patch Geese dizzy. They absolutely love being around people and as a result, they follow me everywhere I go all day long.
My garden is 500' feet South of my house and the goose run is located nearly halfway between both locations. The geese fly South, straight to the garden each time I turn them loose, in anticipation of my daily routine. Since they fly now, they always get there ahead of me. Once there, they turn back in distress, seeing I am not with them, and wanting to bring me along.
When I arrive, or sometimes before I arrive, I might remember that I need a certain tool from the house, or maybe I forgot my hat or perhaps I didn't bring any drinking water. Inevitably, I forget something every time I go to the garden; always it seems to be, after turning the geese loose to graze. The poor geese try to follow me wherever I turn, regardless of how many trips I make, going each direction.
Here lately, there have been 'U-Pick' Customers showing up several times per week; sometimes, several times per day. If I hear a customer drive up or if I hear them honk their car horn, I'll go to meet them at the house (geese in tow). We'll greet one another, shake hands and head back to the garden, usually in the customer's vehicle.
The geese are never aggressive toward visitors, but sometimes, my customers will take off running when they see all 4 geese in flight; headed directly for us, while we are getting out of their car to go pick okra or tomatoes.
The poor geese get so confused, they end up flying in every direction at once. (They like playing 'follow the leader' but sometimes they forget who the leader is supposed to be). That causes them to get very upset. Every day, it seems, one of them will want to go one way, and others want to go a different direction.
Sometimes, they get so chaotic, I have to pen them up for fear they may get run over by a truck or something. That distresses them even more, as they only want to be near people all the time and think they are being neglected when passed by.
After the customers leave, I'll eventually turn them loose again, but this season of harvest has certainly thrown a kink into their daily grazing routine.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Aug 28, 2019 15:26:49 GMT -6
Violet, one of my female, Cotton Patch Geese, got scared during a thunderstorm and flew straight on, into a giant hickory tree this week. When she crashed, she bit her tongue so deeply that she was drenched in blood, from head to foot and looked as if she had been addled badly enough to have a possible serious neck injury.
I hurriedly gathered her up and brought her to the house to get a closer look and discovered that she had bitten off almost a quarter inch off the end of her tongue. I made her a Rabbit Tobacco poultice and made some soothing tea from that same plant to help heal her mouth wounds. The Rabbit Tobacco plant is also a mild sedative, so it helps to calm a creature when there has been trauma involved.
Violet is so doting, that she tried to take care of me, the entire time I was attempting to take care of her. She kept 'preening' my beard and my arm hairs, as if they were made of feathers, while I was busy, trying to doctor her beak and her tongue. She's a snuggler, that much is for sure. She seems to enjoy the added attention and takes her medicine every day, just like she should. There doesn't seem to be any infection or other major damage. She is a lot tougher than she looks. This is Violet.
This is Violet, "Preening" Buddy's dog feathers during a water break while we were pulling weeds, back in June.
This is Violet, un-tying my shoe laces, while she's supposed to be busy pulling weeds.
This is Violet, being a cut-up at the watering hole.
Here she is, doing what Violet does best, pulling weeds right along side me in the garden, just as she has done all this hot, long, humid, summer. These Cotton Patch geese are really dedicated gardening companions. They are also much more affectionate than I figured any bird would ever be. As a result, they've become a much beloved part of the family farm. Who'd a thought geese would be so much entertainment and fun?
Post by heavyhitterokra on Oct 26, 2019 13:04:00 GMT -6
Now that the gardening season is over and I'm spending fewer and fewer hours outdoors with my geese, they are posting themselves at my back door, honking loudly, for me to come back outside to go on a walk with them. I suppose I'd better get back out there before they make me crazy. Here they are, sitting at my back door, honking and wanting me to come back outside. It amazes me, how loyal these birds are. They remind me of dogs more than any other creature. They follow me wherever I go. Lately, they've been flying along behind me at shoulder height, passing me by, then quickly flying back to urge me to hurry and catch up to them. They are pretty special that way.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Nov 5, 2019 21:24:48 GMT -6
THE GOOSE IS LOOSE!!!
Today, I tied a piece of fishing line to an old, inflatable goose decoy and sat it down in a pile of dead leaves.
The other end of the line was attached a fishing pole. I left the decoy there and went to sit down in a folding chair; about 40' feet away with the rod and reel in my lap.
I waited for all the animals to see me there. I knew it wouldn't be long until they started gathering around me, to see if I had anything good to eat. Then, I started slowly, reeling the decoy toward us.
The decoy was sitting in a pile of dead leaves, so it made noise when it started moving. It looked like it was swimming through the dead leaves, straight toward us.
When all the animals looked up to see what it was, I jumped up from my chair and yelled, "Run!!!" Then, I took off running, with the decoy in tow, about 20' or 30' feet behind me. All the animals took off, right beside me, running for their lives! The dogs, the cats, the geese ... It looked like Noah's Ark.
I thought they'd all scatter in every direction, (every man for himself) but instead, they were keeping pace with me, all the while, looking back to see if I was okay. They didn't know I was the one pulling the booger man that was chasing all of us.
I ran a big circle, then came back to the chair. It took a few minutes after I sat down to rest, for all of them to get brave enough to sneak over to the decoy, to see what had been after them.
I wish I could have gotten better pictures, but my camera takes about two seconds to actually take a photo after you push the button.
Here's the best I could do.
Here's Sweet Pea, taking time to wait up and tell me, "Run Faster!!!"
It didn't take long for him to out pace me. Here he is, skedaddling around the corner of the house!
You can barely see Tux, our Tom cat, sneaking up and hissing at the decoy, right when I tugged the line to make it move one more time. Bandit is playing it safe, closer to our back door. He's not even looking at the decoy aymore. I think he figured it out.
Sweet Pea's answer to everything is to jump in my lap, just to be sure no booger ever gets him! You can see the decoy in the background, still creeping toward him. Bandit is still playing it safe, you can see him standing about 10' feet behind the decoy.
Sweet Pea and Violet never got very far away from me the whole time. Here's Sweet Pea, still sitting in my lap, trying to snuggle, while I'm trying to catch my breath from running. I'm getting too old for this!
Here's Clarence, looking to see if there's any room left in my lap. I'm still reeling the fishing pole, but they haven't figured it out yet. You can just see Buddy's nose in the bottom, right of the frame. He's dug in under my chair as far as he can get.
Tux still isn't sure if it's okay to stop running ...
This is one of my favorites. It was the moment they all figured it out and came back to stare at the ground, in "The Huddle of Shame." Petunia is walking by, giving me the side eye, probably thinking, "You jerk! I Knew it was you, the whole time!"
I've got some pretty good animals. They still love me, even after all that. It will take a while to top this one. I'll have to wait many a day before they'll fall for the Zombie Goose Decoy again.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Nov 16, 2019 9:16:44 GMT -6
These geese love me probably as much or more than my dogs do. They follow me everywhere I go. Lately, Sweet Pea has got it in his head that he would rather be a parrot than a goose and wants to fly up and sit on my shoulder (which is quite an inconvenience on my part) A seven pound goose is not a thing one desires to have perched on one's shoulder while attempting to do yard work. It was cute at first, but gets annoying after a few days.
I try to be sure and take time with them each day, to pet each one of them. They'll all come gather around me any time they see me stop and stoop over to their height, which makes it easy to catch them if I ever need to. I pen them up when I'm not at home to watch after them, so if I'm about to leave the house, I'll call them to me and tell them to "Go home." They know those words and will head for the goose pen any time of day when I tell them to. That's a good behavior to teach your poultry type critters, just in case there is a stray dog or a hungry hawk in the neighborhood of where they are free ranging. I can call my geese to me any time of day and send them home.
I use the same words and same gestures each time. We practice this, "Go home" command, like a fire drill and I give them verbal reinforcement each time they cross the threshold of the goose pen door. They like Cheerios, so I reward them for doing things like that. Then, whenever danger lurks, or if I just have guests and the geese are being too loud, I can easily direct them back to the safety of the enclosure.
I leave Buddy in there with them sometimes, just so they'll keep their bond with him. Buddy will intervene, if the neighbor's dogs get too close. A few weeks ago, our neighbor's dogs came onto our land and I saw the geese flying over our house on the way to their goose pen. About that same time, I heard a very loud and viscous dog fight going on in our front yard. When I got back around the house, I saw two pit bulls, attacking Buddy, right in front of our door. I ran them off and sewed Buddy up and gave him antibiotics and pain medicine. (I probably need to start carrying a gun with me from now on). At least until this dog crisis is over.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Nov 21, 2019 0:21:29 GMT -6
From the goose 'decoy ploy' of a few weeks past, I gained a valuable ally in my continued battle against fresh goose droppings in places where you'd rather the geese did not frequent, (such as right in front of the entry way of our front door, on the concrete pad of the front stoop, or in the barn, where they like to nip the occasional cat food or dog food, (like nearly every day of my life!)
A few days after the 'Zombie goose attack, my youngest Son was entertaining himself, by sitting on the rail of our foot bridge and reeling the inflatable goose decoy up stream to where he was sitting, then giving the line slack enough to let the decoy float freely, downstream.
He soon discovered that our geese would not cross the creek, if the decoy goose was in the water. From that, we extrapolated that probably, any where we set a decoy, the Cotton Patch Geese were not likely to visit.
It didn't take long to discover that a strategic placement of a goose decoy would guarantee, no geese would trespass there.
One thing led to another until I now have a 'guard goose' who effectively keeps my Cotton Patch Goose pals from pooing directly in front of my doorway, or inside my barn, on the floor where I have to walk every day.
This is actually quite amusing, as I can see the Cotton Patch Geese attempting to enter the barn, but they will chicken out at the last moment and take off like a bunch of frightened 'Trick or Treaters' on a spooky Halloween night.
This is the creek behind our house. I have a wooden footbridge that I cross every day to feed my livestock.
This is the goose decoy going for a swim, via fishing line attached to a rod and reel.
As you can plainly see in the background, my Cotton Patch Geese are watching this decoy closely and will not approach it to cross the creek.
This is my 'Guard decoy' stationed at the front door, to keep unwanted goose visitors at bay.
Same thing here, but inside the feed shed instead. My geese will not venture past the 'evil eye' of the sentry goose I placed there. It's really quite amusing to watch them eyeing it and pondering whether or not they might sneak by unnoticed.
Every few days, I'll move the decoy to a new location, sometimes all the way inside the shed, beside the cat food dish. The geese will venture inside when I do this, then see the decoy and scram!
It's really funny to see this happen, as I initially only moved the inflatable decoy, because it's made of thin plastic that will most probably degrade in direct sunlight. The shed faces South, so direct sunlight pours in for about the first 6' or 8' feet. The decoy goose, lurking in the shadows is much more entertaining to watch that the one sitting in plain sight.
Geese are naturally curious and a bit on the ornery side. They mess with me all the time; sneaking up and robbing weeds out of my bucket while we're in the garden, when there are weeds everywhere for them to eat. Or sneaking up and running off with an okra pod, while I'm busy shelling out seeds. They are very social birds; more like dogs, than any other creature I can think of.
They have a lot in common with the family dog in the sense that they are so loyal to one person, or that they honk every time someone drives up, or that they follow me everywhere I go. They'll try to anticipate where I'm headed any time they see me get into my truck. Sometimes, I'll deliberately turn the truck in the opposite direction when I see them flying out ahead of me to meet me around the corner. I think they enjoy trying to guess what's next.
I would love to have had one of these geese to play with when I was a boy growing up. After all, what could be more fun, than a flying dog?
Though, sometimes, Sweet Pea thinks he's a flying parrot. I've got to admit, I don't relish the fact that he so much enjoys perching on my shoulder.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Nov 21, 2019 9:32:15 GMT -6
Every few days or so, the geese will decide the decoy is probably just a dummy; they'll creep up on it and stand right at the edge of the stoop and challenge it head-on. Then, my wife will open the front door and say, "Your decoy stopped working. Your geese are out here pooping on the front stoop again"
I'll look out the window and see them gathered around the front door, then I'll go out the side door and walk over to the decoy and give it a nudge toward them with my toe and that's the end of their aggression toward the decoy for at least the rest of the day.
Afterward, I'll step over the decoy, kneel down and make a gesture to the geese with my hands. Immediately, they will come running to me to 'taddle' on the decoy, like it's the UPS man standing behind me.
They tell me every time when any strangers are in our driveway. Our inside dogs used to bark at the door whenever they heard Buddy barking at a car in our driveway. Now, they bark at the door whenever they hear the geese honking. It's funny how most people are more leery of the geese than of the dog. I myself would much rather be bitten by a goose.
Post by heavyhitterokra on Dec 1, 2019 21:24:16 GMT -6
The "Go Home!" Drill.
I've spent all Spring, all Summer, and part of Autumn, teaching my Cotton Patch Geese, voice commands. So far, they only know three voice commands. Well, maybe only two? One is more of a trained response.
That one is, "Goose ... Goose ... Where are youuuu?" Any time, I holler that, in a sing-song type way, they'll answer me with loud honking, so I'll know what direction to start looking to find them while free-ranging. Most of the time, after I holler like that, they'll actually come looking for me. We'll end up meeting somewhere about halfway.
The next one is, "Garden." Any time I say that, they all take off running and flying to see what kind of greens I'll be feeding them down that way. In Spring or Summer, I've usually got some weeds that need pulling. They absolutely love pulling weeds! They stay right by my hands, just waiting to see what kind of grubs or grasshoppers might turn up. Eventually, they'll become restless and start grazing nearby, always keeping an eye toward what I'm doing, because it's 'First come, first served' when I find any goodies for them to snack on.
The third command is the most important one of all. It's the "Go Home." command.
I use the same words and the same gestures each time. We practice this, "Go home" command, like a fire drill and I give them verbal reinforcement each time they cross the threshold of the goose pen door.
They like Cheerios, so I reward them for doing things like that. Then, whenever danger lurks, or if I just have guests and the geese are being too loud, I can easily direct them back to the safety of their goose enclosure.
I leave Buddy in there with them sometimes, just so they'll keep their bond with him. Buddy and the geese are the best of friends.
Buddy will intervene if the neighbor's dogs get too close. I know this from experience, because a few weeks ago our neighbor's dogs came onto our land without my knowledge. My first indication that something was wrong, was when I saw all four of the geese flying over the top of our house on the way to go hide in their goose pen. About that same time, I heard a very loud and vicious dog fight going on in our front yard. When I got back around the house, I saw two pit bulls, attacking Buddy, right in front of our door!!! They had him down, ripping and slashing at his underside. I ran them off and tended to Buddy. I sewed him up and gave him antibiotics and pain medicine, then spent the rest of the day playing nursemaid to my chewed up dog.
I live on a farm about 1,000' feet down the road from where those two dogs came from ... On Saturday morning, I heard another ruckus --- sad to say, those same two dogs had a pot-bellied pig cornered in my tool shed. By the time I ran them off, they had shredded that poor little potbelly pig. The pig was not mine. It came from up the hill somewhere and ran into my tool shed for safety, but that did it no good because I was out back at the time. The neighbors have been warned. (There will not be another warning).
Thank goodness, I took time early on, to teach my Cotton Patch Geese where to go when things get bad. The goose pen would probably end up being the last place they ever went if those two dogs had followed them in there, but this time, Buddy saved their lives by buying them some time, until I could get up the hill and around the house to run those two bull dogs away.
Tomorrow, I'll be calling the Sheriff. Bulldogs have no business running loose on other people's farms. This is Bandit, the first guard dog the goslings had. Bandit was their baby sitter while I was busy putting the final touches on the goose enclosure. He loves farm babies!
This is the goose pen being built. I always leave the door open during the day, so the geese can come here for safety.
Since the Cotton Patch Geese were Mail-Order, goslings, they had no mother when they first arrived. Since the day they came here in the mail, they've been natural born snuggle-bugs. They didn't care if they snuggled with me or with Bandit, just as long as they were snuggling.
This is Buddy. He's not much of a baby lover, but he is loyal and will protect anything you leave him in charge of. He and the geese are well bonded now, and he looks after them with his life.
This is one of the female goslings, grooming Buddy's fur during a garden weeding break, in mid-July.
This is where they all come running, if I'm anywhere they can find me. This is Sweet Pea, sitting in my lap, the day of the 'Zombie Goose Attack'. Petunia was looking for a place under my chair.
That day, even Buddy was hiding under my chair! You can just barely see the tip of his nose poking out as he made room for Petunia ... That's Clarence, there on the ground, looking to see if there was any room left in my lap. Cotton Patch Geese are a critically endangered species; being snugly, is not all that makes them so special.
All my ranching neighbors follow a rule, which I think they call the "SSS rule" with marauding dogs, "Shoot, scoop and shut up." If they know the owner of the dog and that it doesn't normally cause trouble, they'll probably give a heads up. But otherwise they take care of the problem and never say a word.