Sticking Point

The geese’s gosling got into trouble. I’d been out in the morning checking what Fawn Girl was doing in the hen house, (she’s gone broody again on a clutch of eggs – not all hers – as I discovered.) I came back and left the gate open, the geese all squeezed under the gate that’s before that one, found they could now go further – and promptly did. I went out that afternoon to call the feathered gang in for dinner, gave the usual yodeling calls and a dozen hens, chicks, and a rooster, all came tearing in from different directions. No geese. Hmmm. I guessed at once where they were, walked around the corner so that they saw me, got their attention, called again, and three geese, one gander (named Stroppy because he is) and the gosling all charged towards me. I retreated, tossed food in the usual place and then discovered that someone was stuck. The adults had all gone around the gate, Junior had gone in a straight line and was now in a corner, trying to get to his family through narrow bars and finding that he’d grown.
(Goslings do. Mine are partly Sebastopol, goslings are close to adult size in three months, and the adults are large geese. Junior’s doubled in size in the past two weeks and no longer fitted between the bars as he had a couple of times before. He was having acute separation anxiety and his father was having a meltdown.)
I went behind the gate, shut it after me – I know how paternal the gander is – and scooped up Junior who screamed as if I was dismembering him. His father immediately went ballistic, bouncing off the fence dividing us, shrieking abuse (which I definitely will not translate) stuck his beak through the bars, hissed like an exasperated cobra, and made – threats! I then realized that Stroppy was about to climb right over the fence and take his warfare to a whole new level. I can handle him normally, but not when I have my hands full of frantic gosling. I dropped Junior over the fence very smartly, Stroppy bounced off the barrier once more, making bloodcurdling promises about what he’d do if I laid hands on his baby again, and took the whole family off up the lawn. I sighed. Goslings are idiots, that wasn’t the first time I’ve had to assist one, and it won’t be the last, and sooner or later I’ll be too slow and that gander will get his beak into me. Oh, well, life as a farmer.

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