Bad parenting

  • Posted on: 28 October 2016
  • By: MrWurster

Once again the geese have demonstrated their ineptness as parents. How do they survive in the wild?

Our 15 geese between them laid about 50 eggs, in 6 clutches. They hatched four.

Of the four goslings, none survived more than a few days.

I haven't seen it happen, but I'm pretty sure the crows sit up and watch and wait, and swoop in and pick the goslings off one by one while the parents are busy inanely gabbling and running round in circles. I've seen parents drag their offspring through water, step on them…they are hopeless.

I like them…don't get me wrong….but its heartbreaking to watch the tragedy unfold exactly as predicted. I think we would have to get an incubator, and hatch and rear them ourselves to get a better result.

In chicken world there's been a few similarly tragic stories. Our beautiful, productive Rosecomb bantam delivered another six chicks. Two disappeared. Worst theory is they squeezed through the notionally chick-proof fence and were picked off by the fearsome Isa Brown hens. Our friend the goshawk is a suspect, too. But yesterday a lovely healthy chick drowned itself slipping into a water container. Entirely avoidable, and my fault. The tub was just sitting there and filled up with rainwater. If it had been somewhere else or upside down it wouldn't have been a problem.

But the topic of conversation this week has been about the snake.

October they wake up and are hungry and aggressive. A healthy metre-plus Eastern Brown snake crawled past the back door, past our puppy sunning himself on the back doorstep. His barking alerted us. I went out to chase it off. It was so fast, certainly travelling faster than a brisk walk. It initially took off, but when I followed it round the corner, it stopped, faced off and then reared up. Very scary.

It then bolted for the shed and went straight into the haystack. Fantastic.

The haystack is next to the chicken yard, and I realized then its possible the missing chicks met a snake. The chicks make a lot of noise, and we do get mice building up at intervals. I trap the mice until they stop, then they appear again sixweeks later. Its an ongoing cycle. But the mice smell would be an attractant to snakes, too. Plus the low-walled water containers for the chooks.

Suddenly a walk through the long grass to the river is less attractive!

I suspect the snake has moved on by now, but I don't know that for sure. We've set up a snake trap, but I'm skeptical about its effectiveness. And there'll be more…..