Abernethy, Aberargie and Dron News

Last date for submissions

30th October 2018

Date of publication

1st December 2018

WHY SEX MATTERS IN THE ANIMAL WORLD

Christmas morning I was letting the geese out,  “Good morning Ozzie and Skye and Merry Christmas”; they have a pen to themselves.  Ozzie is 27 years old and Skye 10.   

Going on to the shed Pearl and Bud share, I opened the door and was about to say the same to them when I could not believe my eyes; Pearl was covered in blood! I froze till I took it in. “Oh Pearl what ever has happened to you?”, Bud was okay. I bathed her to get the blood off. The only explanation  was that a stoat must have got into the shed. Day by day Pearl got weaker till finally she died. I felt so helpless. Meanwhile Bud knew something was wrong, and started moping so I started looking on the computer for any geese for sale. I saw some advertised at Gorebridge near Edinburgh.

I phoned and made arrangements to purchase five geese at £20 each, making sure they were all geese as I already had two ganders I finally made the deal. So off with my husband, son and myself in the van, which was lined with straw to contain them, on a very cold snowy Saturday morning. Reaching our destination, Jim, the person whom we were buying them from, caught them and in the van they went. I said to him a few times are you sure they are all geese as I already have 2 ganders, he assured me they were and I took his word for it.

Arriving back home I opened the gate into the garden and shouted to Bud to come and see what Mum had brought him. He went so coy with his neck arched and seemed to welcome them, which I have a wee video of. I noticed one had ruffled feathers so I just said to it you will soon grow up to be a beautiful goose, and thought nothing of it.

One week later we started to see the character changing in one of the geese with a stronger neck. My fears came that one was a gander, meantime the one with the ruffled

feathers would not go in the shed with the others and would run around the garden two or three times before I managed to get it in.  Little did I know about the pecking order of which he was the victim. I called it Road Runner,  double R.

During the next few weeks I realised I had three ganders not counting RR. When I would let them out in the morning poor RR would be pecked and bleeding. It turned out that I had four ganders and one goose. Sally I called her, and she is a beautiful goose.   

My husband and son were away for two weeks during the worst time for me. I dreaded each night shutting them in but I knew there was a fox coming around as it had dug up Pearl and pulled her to the end of the garden. I was at my wits’ end, and finally I had to leave RR out at night, when I would be up a few times to check if he was okay.  I made a shelter for him with a bird ornament wrapped in a white sheet for company, which I must say did not work. One morning I got up and wondered where RR was, there he was hiding under a barrow all shook up, something had  attacked him. I don’t need to tell you how upset I was. Then it occured to me that if I could put Skye and Ozzie right into the kennel and shut the door I would then get RR into the front of the kennel with some straw for a bed. After a bit of persuasion with them all, it paid off and it was not too bad.

After I realised the first two were ganders for sure, I phoned Jim (I still have his number) but he did not believe me, and did nothing about it. I even wrote him a letter with the little address I had. I still do not know if he got it.       

As spring was there the fighting began. I was a nervous wreck! Poor Bud whom I had got them all for, just pined away as all the flock I got were keeping themselves to themselves. I saw him sitting at the gate, then I could not believe my eyes when Ozzie tried to kill him, not the first one to try to  kill another. I knew something drastic had to be done and started asking around if anybody would like  to take the ganders. A woman who keeps geese in Newburgh said she knew a man from Auchterarder who would give them a home. He came and got one which he and I managed to corner and catch. Then the next week he came and got the other two; I had them in the shed for him coming so they were easier to catch. The garden became quieter and more pleasant for the geese and myself I might add.

Lillias Johnston