Friday, August 17, 2012

crying fowl

Tuesday was a kind of crazy day.

It's always a little tricky getting my brood off to women's Bible study, though it's easier now than it used to be.  After we finish with that we climb back into our Suburban and drive south.  Every Tuesday we head out to a farm where we buy raw milk.  I often stop at a certain house to get farm fresh eggs, and that's what I needed to do on this day.

It is a beautiful drive, especially when the sun is shining.  We get to see various animals: horse, cows, goats, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and sometimes even ostrich.  We often see deer, especially if it's a cool morning.  I believe it's good for my kids to see where their food comes from.   They know our milk farmers, and they know Mr. E., where we often stop to get eggs.  (There's also a lovely lady who brings eggs to my house - and I much prefer to buy from her - but oftentimes I supplement with eggs from Mr. E.  We eat a lot of eggs at my house.)

Anyway, we get to see a lot.  And although I sometimes wish we didn't make the trip every week, there's something about it that's good for my rural-born soul.  Besides: the milk is so, so worth it, and the eggs are fantastic.

As I mentioned, we see a lot of animals.  But before this week, I had never come face to face with a goose.  Or, several geese.  I suppose that'd be a gaggle?

Here's what happened:  I put the truck in park and made my way up to Mr. E.'s porch.  He always has a lot of animals around.  Chickens, of course, and lately there have been turkeys too - my kids find these very amusing.  He has cats and several very loud dogs.  In fact, before we learned his name, the boys and I used to refer to Mr. E. as "the man with the angry dogs."  My feelings aren't hurt by their incessant barking; I know they're only doing their job.  Nonetheless, I'm very glad they're always behind a fence.

Mr. E. is a sweet, genial older man.  He reminds me terrifically of Jed Clampett.  We've had several interesting conversations about food sourcing, and I believe we see eye to eye on many things.  I like Mr. E. very much, and I've been buying eggs from him for several years now.

But I wish I had known about his geese.

Barks ringing in my ears, I got three dozen eggs from the outside refrigerator, left some empty cartons and my payment.  Mr. E. poked his head out to holler at the dogs, as he often does.  As usual, they didn't quiet down a bit.  I am clearly a dangerous intruder as far as their canine brains are concerned.

Mr. E. went back inside and I descended the porch steps.  As I traipsed down the dirt path, I slowly became conscious of another sound, nearly lost in the cacophony of doggy noise.  Honking.  Definitely honking.  I glanced over my shoulder and was mildly alarmed at what I saw.  Geese.  A bundle of geese, approaching

I tend to be a little freaked out about birds.  And these were big birds, their beady eyes intent on me, mere feet away.  They were following me.  They were chasing me.

My mild alarm ramped up a bit and I took to flight.  Egg cartons clutched under my arm, I shrieked and ran.  As I rounded the front of the truck, seeing that I had put distance between myself and my pursuers, I began to giggle.  It was probably a tad hysterical.  Just as I opened the driver's side door, Mr. E. called from his window, "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about that.  They'll sneak up on you..."

It's possible I responded to his words, but I couldn't really tell you.  All I know if that I flung myself into that truck as fast as I could, praying I hadn't crushed any eggs in the process.  (I hadn't.)   As I buckled my seatbelt  I heard a wry voice from the back seat.  "Did you get chased by some geese, Mama?"

Yes, son.  I sure did.

Later that evening I did a little digging.  Evidently shrieking and running was not the way to go.  And so as a service to you, I'd like to share the proper way to handle yourself if you ever find yourself threatened by a goose.  Or geese.  These tips are taken from the article "How to Stop a Goose Attack" from

Stop a Goose Attack
 -Pay attention to the actions of the male goose when you enter his territory. If he sounds a warning, that is your signal to leave the area. 
-Show no fear. Geese are particularly attuned to body language and a show of fear may increase the intensity of the attack. 
-Maintain eye contact. Geese have excellent vision and interpret loss of eye contact as an act of fear. 
-Stay calm. Don't yell or try to hit the male goose. The female may join the attack and then you will be in real trouble. 
  • -Keep your body facing directly toward the goose. Never turn your back on an attacking goose.
  • -Walk slowly backwards if the goose hisses at you or spreads its wings. Use your peripheral vision to avoid tripping over obstacles.
    -Continue facing the goose and back slowly away at a 90-degree angle from the goose if he flies up at your face. 
    -Make your escape and exit the area through a gate if possible. Geese rarely fly over a fence.

  • There you have it; you are now officially better informed than I was.  And if I again face birds which are, at the least, curious and at the worst, preparing to tear my eyes out, I'll know a little better what to do.
  • Hold my head high, stare those birds down, and desperately hope that, for just a minute really, I can transform into The Flash.


    Mama said...

    I must say it's pretty amusing. I had to chuckle a few times. I've never had that experience. Thanks for the tips. Glad you made it to the rig in time!

    Ol' Dad said...

    When I gathered chicken & duck eggs at the neighbors' while they were away recently, a goosling hatched. The geese were quite protective of it - ALL of them. As it turned out I had to use one of those reach-out-and-pick-it-up tools that was outside the pen to reach some eggs. It came in quite handy for holding in front of the of the most threatening goose's face while I went about my duties.

    You might try taking a hiking stick as a defensive tool to ward them off. You could certainly use it to knock attackers off their aim if they try to bite you!

    Happy visitng.