Now on to the goose story.
The big grey girl in front is Panini. I call her my OG (Original Goose). See, I've always been a duck fan. When we moved to a farm with a big pond, I told my husband "We're getting ducks." Being the good, smart husband he is, he said, "Whatever you want." So we got ducks, built them a big duck house to be safe in, a fenced yard for when I wanted to keep them penned, life was good. My ducklings grew and I was excited for the day I could first turn them loose. Then the raccoons came.
I woke up one more to duck slaughter. Not a duck left alive. I cried and grieved and felt awful because the lovely house we had build wasn't raccoon proof. So we reinforced it. More ducklings were bought to fill my lonely pond. Turns out raccoons are evil. Over the next year, they pulled screens off of windows, they squeezed through tiny holes in the eves, they dropped from the trees onto the roof like little ninjas in the night, they even opened the door and let themselves in. Constant frustration and dead or missing ducks.
Finally, I'd had enough. I called my husband in tears to tell him that once again the raccoon ninjas had defeated our security and made it into the coop. No survivors. I was DONE. DONE! YOU HEAR ME? No more ducks.
But I missed the ducks. I missed the quacking and watching them play in the water. Ducks are so sweet, so helpless. I couldn't have more ducks just to serve them to the raccoons. That's when I decided to get even. I was going to boobie trap that coop. I wasn't getting ducks. I was getting geese. I went online that very day. It wasn't really the proper breeding time for geese and so there were only two choices for geese, Africans and Chinese. Everyone said those were the loudest, most aggressive, most obnoxious geese alive. Yes! Yes, I wanted badass geese! I was all on board. I bought ten goslings to be delivered.
Oh, my heavens. Goslings are truly the cutest babies alive. Friendly, talkative. I couldn't put them down in the coop of death, so I raised them in the house until they were big, way past when I should have. I ended up with the most spoiled group of geese imaginable. Boy, did they get big and loud. I'll never forget the first time a raccoon tried to break in. That raccoon must have thought he had entered the lowest level of hell. I heard the geese raising a ruckus and came running out, but the raccoon was long gone leaving only a quantity of fur behind. Large flock of killer geese 1 Racoon 0.
Over time, my original flock has passed on, but I have one left: Panini.
Panini is a survivor. She has survived snake attacks and a coyote attack that killed her mate and left her with huge, life-threatening wounds. Once she was kicked in the head by a horse and knocked unconscious. I thought she was dead. A few minutes later she staggered to her feet and was fine. I blogged about her trying to hatch inanimate objects back in 2010 after a snake ate her eggs (psst: read it. There's a happy ending). She is sort of like the mother of my flock. She raises all babies, ducks and geese. She follows me around chattering and checking buckets for extra grain. She comes up to the door and knocks on it when she wants in--and has a fit when I won't let her come inside with the people. She is just as much a pet as my cats and dogs. Some tough farmer I am, right?
Now she is in another situation. She has a severely broken leg, most likely the result of being stepped on in the pasture. Have I mentioned she is fearless around the livestock? Her leg is splinted. The vet will x-ray it again in two weeks to see if it will heal. Now I go to a vet office with 14 vets. I live in ranching territory and they do a lot of big animal business as well as the normal cats and dogs. Heck, this is where I take my goats and donkeys. But the vets all agreed: First time anyone brought them a goose to fix. So they have done their best and we are doing our best for her. I have to believe she will beat this too.
So good thoughts and prayers for Panini these next two weeks. This goose story needs a happy ending.