Thursday, August 04, 2011

No. I thought You Were Swans

I got beaten up by a goose. No, really. A goose. A gander. An African fowl. It's true.

My awesome neighbor owned three geese. He is, sadly, moving, so he needed to sell his geese. When a guy came to buy them, my neighbor asked if I would catch the geese and put them in the boxes the buyer had brought so they could move to their new home. Of course I said yes. Who would turn down the opportunity to wrangle some geese?

And wrangle I did. I went after the male first. I cornered him fairly easily and grabbed him by the neck (the only advice I got from my neighbor). I then tried to pick him up in a sort of modified football hold, but in doing so he kicked my with his webbed foot. You wouldn't think a webbed foot would do much damage, but take it from me; don't underestimate the webbed foot. I did finally get him in the box and the two female geese were quicker, but once I caught them they were easy to put in their boxes. The buyer took them home, happy to have a birthday present for his daughter and my neighbor was thrilled to have the geese go to a good home. I'm thrilled to have them gone. Yes, I will miss the goose eggs (delicious and huge!) but it's nice to be able to carry on a conversation in the backyard. It's so much more peaceful now!

At first I had three giant claw marks on my arm from where the goose scratched me. The next day, I had three huge black and purple bruises appear, each surrounding the three scrapes. After a few days, the bruises turned yellow. They are finally vanishing, and the scrapes have healed, but for a while there it looked like I had been attacked by a tiger.

So next time you get in a fight with a goose, remember the thing to fear is not the beak, but the dreaded webbed foot.


  1. I haven't tried that but I know how chickens can fight. You need a "fowl catcher" made up! It catches them from two-three feet away (easier to sneak up that way) and gets at least one foot under control first.

    Basically, it's a handle with a long metal wand attached. (about 1/4 inch thick) The wand is bent into a hook at the end, which is a v-shape about 4-6 inches long and a couple of inches wide at the widest end.

    You hold the handle, slip up close behind a fowl, reach out and snake that little v around one leg. Pull back and the leg slips in tighter. You just keep pulling it towards you, grab the bird by the other leg first for control, and then grab the leg that's in the hook.

    Carry it upside down by both legs until you get to the crate, pen, or whatever. If it's friendly you can hold it upright but you want that beak away from you if it's not!

    This is actually quick, quiet, and much less stressful on both you and the bird than chasing it madly around the yard.

    If you want I can draw you a picture and scan it. I wonder if you can find such a tool on the internet? I think my dad made his own.

  2. That sounds equal parts painful and fun. I can't imagine your backyard without the geese. I imagine it seems much more...peaceful. Like you could go out there and hear yourself thinking.

    The battle scars sound amazing. I have claw marks all up and down one of my arms from an over-excited puppy that doesn't have clipped nails. It looks like I got into a fight with a fleet of hounds or something. I'd much rather have a goose beating mark though, your description makes it sound so cool...


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