Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Don't mess with Ingrid!

This is Ingrid's first season as a nesting mother, and she's taking her job seriously. Thirty days, on the nest, incubating and protecting those eggs . . . err . . . those egg-shaped gourds that look a lot like the eggs Ingrid laid, except browner. (Scroll back a few days for the reason she has gourds in the nest.)

Don't mess with Ingrid. She'll yank your glove right off. Just ask my son. That's his gloved hand, and a while later, the goose stole the glove and beat it up. Normally, Ingrid's sweet-natured for a goose and avoids confrontations whenever possible. She's never nipped me, though I think she got my son once when he cornered her in the barn for a cuddle. Sometimes Ingrid hisses at me if I wear the wrong coat to the barn, but all I have to do is sweet-talk her a little and do the goose-goose-goose call. She can't help herself. She straightens up and honks the goose-goose-goose call back at me. Instincts are a powerful force, and her instincts say I'm the Mama Goose. I hand-raised the whole flock from tiny goslings, fed them, watered them, cuddled them and introduced them to the joys of swimming in the cow trough (and don't think I don't regret that now that the geese are huge and make a huge muddy mess every time they bathe there).

Lately, Ingrid and I don't talk much. She's kind of zoned out most of the time, doing the zen of nesting thing. Setting poultry often seem to go into a trance state, calm, serene, and completely motionless. Time is nothing. It's eerie seeing Ingrid in that state. Sometimes she's so still I have to touch her to reassure myself that she's alive and well. I can usually get away with a touch, with or without a protective glove, and maybe a couple of light strokes over those soft feathers.

I'm careful though. See that mouth? See those hard ridges along her beak? Plus, geese are strong, and they understand torque. They know how to pinch down on a big chunk of flesh, hold on tight, and give it a good yank and twist. Do NOT mess with a ticked off goose.

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