Monday, 14 December 2015

Goose Step

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting thick... no, that's wrong... the goose was always thick.

Goose intelligence comes in standard sizes, S, XS, XXS, XXXS, and then the gander sizes, XXXXS, XXXXXS, XXXXXXS, XXXXXXXS... as exemplified by our gander, Idris, Avian Professor of Applied Stupidity at the University of Utter Muppet.

It's a by-product of their down-trodden up-bringing... unless that's just the first symptom. Geese do not have the greatest eyesight. I'm sure it's optimised for something, and they can certainly find a pile of grain in poor light, but what they miss is the stuff right under their beaks. Like goslings. Fortunately, the average gosling is physically robust, because the parents stand on them. Frequently. It's like something out of a cartoon – one big, webbed goose foot covering the gosling – just tiny toes, wing-tips and beak poking out, and screaming for help.

The screaming is counter productive. Geese are intensely protective of goslings. I have had Idris perform a vertical take-off, over a four-four high barrier, because one of his offspring was doing the frantic hey dad, look what I found... which sounds exactly like help, help, the bad man is threatening me. The trouble is, once dad is standing on junior, and the screaming starts, dad holds his ground looking for the bastard threatening junior...

Then junior grows up – whatever little brains it started with squeezed out by parental pressure. And, just when you don't think a goose can be any more stupid...

All of a sudden, Idris can't walk through the gate in the evening. It's the same gate, the same path to the shed where they go over-night, and I have the pot of grain in my hand as usual, and Idris just stops. Chocky and Honk (his missus and his bit on the side), are just behind, following his lack of leadership, another fine example of goose stupidity, because they are both definitely smarter than him.
So Idris paces left and right, checks-out the gate, then the adjacent gate which isn't open, tries the back of the stables, the gap that leads to food and the fox-resistant shelter... no... can't go through there... not like last night... or the night before... or before that... The only change in the scenario is the light level dropping as the winter evenings draw in... but the geese can find a pile of grain in near darkness...

So I have to go through and herd them forwards, because once Honk and Chocky start crowding him, Idris goes through, charges down the path, into the shed, threatens me with groin-level violence because the grain isn't down yet...

This all begs the question – why do we go to the trouble of keeping geese? And why do we traditionally (before the invention of turkey) eat them at Christmas? Exasperation? Frustration? Get through that gate you little ###### or it's the chop for you...

It's not fair to call geese bird-brained. Not fair at all. The chickens are quite smart.

No comments:

Post a Comment