We were so thrilled that our geese again hatched six little goslings this year. Some of you may have seen our video of “Mrs. Snuggles” sitting on her nest, hissing and being nasty. One would assume that nothing would bother the babies with a mama that nasty and intimidating. One would also assume that inside a weather-proof hut inside an electric fence, close to the house and barn, mama and babies would remain safe from predators.
Even with all these safety provisions in place, the little goslings have disappeared one by one. I am saddened to report we only have one fluffy, yellow gosling left. The babies began to disappear just a week after they hatched. I was astounded that anything made it past the geese encircling the hut, the gander who stayed inside the hut, not to mention nasty old Mrs. Snuggles, the aggressive and protective mother. However, night after night, one by one, the babies disappeared.
The Bibbed Wonder risked life and limb to go inside the hut with Mrs. Snuggles. The sentinels protecting the outside of the hut raised a fuss, but none flogged him. Mrs. Snuggles gathered her remaining brood under her hissing and squawking, but she did not attack him either. Eric was able to shoo Mrs. Snuggles off the nest, grab all three goslings in one swoop, and place them outside the hut with the flock. He then scurried out of the hut, dashed for the gate, and quickly latched it behind him. He thinks nothing of breaking up a fight with his 600-pound pigs, but he is intimidated by hissing geese. This makes me giggle.
The Bibbed Wonder believed the baby goslings would be safer on the water than penned in the hut. After stating that I didn’t think baby geese could swim until they developed feathers, Eric noted that the babies were drowning slowly on the pond while they swam alongside their mother. As I dashed to the door to try to save them, he laughingly informed me they were safely and successfully swimming, with the gaggle of geese protecting them. His sense of humor leaves a lot to be desired sometimes. Sigh.
The goslings spent the day on the water and lounging in the sun with their mama protecting them and keeping them close. We thought we were in the clear, but alas, the next morning, we were down to one lone baby goose. All who watched Mrs. Snuggles sit upon the nest for nearly a month, watched as the babies hatched, and looked after their growth and progression were sorely disappointed that so many did not make it. Even our mail person kept tabs on Mrs. Snuggles and her little ones. Each morning, our soap family drives in the lane, slows down to get a look at the geese, and checks to make sure the little one is still with us. Each new day, I comment, “Well, the little fuzzy bottoms made it through another night.”
I threaten to spend the night on the barn roof in tactical gear with night vision goggles and a .22 to pick off whatever is preying upon our goslings. The Bibbed Wonder says I pose more of a threat falling asleep and falling off the barn roof than spotting whatever nasty critter is coming in and getting past the small army of geese. He’s probably correct; my days of pulling all-nighters are long gone.
It has been a few weeks, and the lone gosling is still hanging on. I am hoping the little ball of fluffy cuteness makes it. Preach and Mildred, the ducks, are safe and sound to date. I haven’t ordered my duck house or my fifteen white-crested ducklings yet. I’m continuing to work on my bib overall wearing nay-sayer. He’s not cooperating in the least. Sigh. Poor Mildred comes up the driveway and hangs out by the cars when Preach is not with her. I believe she sees her reflection in the lower panel of the car and thinks it’s another duck—the poor girl. I’m determined to get her some friends.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, keep what is yours close and secure, and keep washing your hands.