Friday, February 26, 2016

Getting to Know Your Birds: Geese

Geese are wonderful and majestic animals. Their long, elegant necks are topped with proud, strong heads. They are the ultimate symbol of pride and refinement. They are a joy to have, and their large eggs produce a sizable and tasty 1-egg omelet. If you have the heart to slaughter your beloved pets, they provide a beautiful centerpiece and tasty main dish for any large meal gathering, especially for Christmas dinner.    

If you are expecting a clean, quiet, and hands-off bird, these are definitely not the birds for you. While most are beautifully pristine on the outside, on the inside they are wild animals, more so than chickens and ducks. Save for the calmer, friendlier Chinese Geese, geese have nasty tempers, hissing, snarling, chasing and biting even the kindest of their owners. The only thing nastier than their personalities is their massive piles of feces. One bowel movement will produce a pile of turds larger than those of medium-sized dogs. Sometimes their feces will be liquid, somehow grosser than the aforementioned turd mountains.

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The Chinese Goose (pictured below), a medium-sized breed that comes in white or brown, is a personal favorite of mine. They are far more friendly than their contemporaries, even feeding from human hands when they have become accustomed to the presence of humans. They will nip at the cuffs of your pants, begging for food like a small dog. The Chinese Goose shares many characteristics with the Mute Swan, although being far less hot tempered. They are even referred to a "Swan Geese" and "Poor Man's Swans". Chinese geese are also known for their benefits to homeowners and gardeners, gaining a reputation as "weeder geese" as they eat weeds in gardens and lawns, as well as trimming tall grass by grazing your lawn to supplement the diet of grains that is normally fed to them by their owners. A personal favorite to both them and other species of geese are dandelions, and before you know it, they will have munched down all these perennial lawn pests.

   Image result for chinese goose                             

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