Over the summer, I spend my time on my parent’s farm. It was over this summer that I acquired a goose. A gosling to be exact, barely a month old. She had been passed around from the person who got her, who figured out that geese are work, to our neighbor, who has a lot of chickens and finally to me.
It is important to mention that we already had one goose. He has an irrational unconditional love for me and my father, and a hate for my mother. The idea was that maybe little goose would grow up to be female so that big goose can figure out that he’s a goose.
So little goose started to grow and learn and by the end of the summer she was almost full grown and had all of her adult coloring. When we are in school we don’t learn about the affectionate capacities of farm animals like ducks, geese, and chickens. However, we learn that exotic birds like parrots, such as my friend’s dad’s African grey, attach to one or two people in their lives and can become very affectionate. Also, we learn that these types of exotic birds are very intelligent. We don’t learn that geese can become very affectionate pets.
Both of the geese, big goose and little goose, are imprinted on me and my father. We cannot go anywhere in the yard without the two geese by our sides. What started as an attempt to get one goose to act like a goose resulted in two geese who act like dogs. They greet us when we come in the yard. They “bark” when cars pull into the driveway. They stress when they can’t see us. They protect us when strangers or predators (dogs and cats) approach. When they hear my car coming from the end of the road, I can see them running to the driveway to meet me. It’s amazing! They actually recognize my car sound…and when it’s time to leave they chase my car. They will follow it all the way down the road if I drive slowly enough.
I also want to emphasize the intelligence of these birds. Little goose sleeps in a cage in the barn at night because I was afraid of the turkeys picking on her. When it is time to go in the barn, I open her cage and she walks herself into it. The first couple times she needed to be shown of course, but now I don’t need to touch her, she just goes right in.
No one is going to recommend a goose for a pet. Everyone learns that they are mean and attack everything. However, in my experience, they are the dogs of the bird world. The only downside is that they poop a lot.
It just goes to show that we need to expand our knowledge of these farm fowl to understand their capabilities, intelligence, and attachment toward humans. Everyone should get to know that they are not just farm animals, they are super cool birds. So maybe next time when the subject of the intelligent exotic birds pops up in a course, I’m going to advocate that there are some intelligent domestic birds here too.