Darby the goose update

It has been a while since I did an update on Darby. So I thought I would fill you in on the nature of our life as a goose family.

This photo says it all really.

Adopting animals into our family can be hard work, it can be heart breaking (especially with short-lived species) and it can be the greatest joy… ever. It allows us to get to know a species (or an individual from a species) very well and to be able to communicate with them to a limited degree. Darby is no different.

While growing up, Darby exhibited male characteristics we had seen in the outside geese; chasing the dogs protectively (our poor dogs had a steep learning curve there too), herding family members and honking into the air at odd moments. We began to call Darby ‘him’ based on this. Recently however, my daughter patted him on the back and he immediately squatted and spread his wings; indicating that he is definitely a female. Only a female would squat to mate. It will be hard to change the pronoun, but we are up to the challenge. It also indicates that she may be a little too imprinted on humans.

Darby has traveled around a bit in the car, going to the vet, going to school with me, going into town to get the mail. Geese are social animals and get very distressed when left alone, so we have to take her with us if we are all out. Also the chances of disaster happening when a goose is left unattended with the dogs and all the indoor birds are quite high. Geese are curious and smart birds; they can open gates and find switches and cords that a toddler couldn’t.

Darby lives in the humpy for the most part, walking along with my daughter when she feeds the outside animals, supervising vegetable cutting and cooking in the kitchen, sitting in the sun in the front yard or in front of the fire at night. She sleeps beside my daughter’s bed (or mine when she is away) with her beak resting on the blankets so she can feel the breathing (sleeping) human. Geese love their families and are very protective of the family unit.

Television watching (in the form of streamed movies) is a favorite activity, and we have discovered that geese can laugh (at least it sounds like laughing). She is a fairly vocal family member and is always up for a chat or chiming in with an opinion.

Darby seems to be very happy to continue living in the humpy with us, and we have become used to her being there. In fact we enjoy her company.

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