| Home Page | Archives |

Issue 47:  November 2008

In This Issue:

  Neo Update
  Miri & Benny
  Come Join The Gaggle!
  Goosey-Gander Gender Test
  The Month in Photos!
  Majestic Newcomers
  Majestic Adoptions
  Majestic Sponsorship
  Recommended Reading

To Make a Donation, please click here:  Donation

Have You Seen Our Video Clips at Myspace?


Sanctuary videos change throughout the month, so keep checking back to see the latest!

Goosey-Gander Gender Test

We have recently learned of a simple, non-intrusive means to check the gender of geese.

We are looking for owners of geese of KNOWN GENDERS to help us verify the accuracy of this test.

It's as simple as picking up your goose and holding them gently in your arms for a moment while you watch their behavior.

If you would like to participate in this quick visual test, please Contact Us.

The Month in Photos!

Ha ha ha! O'Malley laughs it up!

Strike a pose, Joop!

A splashing good time, eh Benny?!

Lewy embedded in feathers

Pretty Princess on the pond

Isis and Tiwana floating along...

Majestic Newcomers

Luna & Isis



Joop! and Jett


Majestic Sponsorship

If you canít adopt, please consider sponsoring a duck or goose in our care by visiting our sponsorship page.  

Gift sponsorships are great for the holidays & include a Golden gift tube!

Recommended Reading*

Duck's Tale

Product Description

Toad has glasses and apparently knows how to read, so when Duck finds a pen, he assumes that he will be able to write. When he hands his composition to Toad after dinner to read to their friends, the amphibian tries to beg off. Then he looks at what Duck has scribbled and makes up a tale about Duck, reading it aloud. Otter and Hedgehog are thoroughly impressed.

Click here to order.

* For our full recommended reading list, click here. If you order from Amazon by way of our website, Majestic receives a portion of the proceeds!

Contact Us

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary
17 Barker Road
Lebanon, CT 06249

Our Newsletter

The Majestic Monthly is published 12 times per year. Previous issues are available in our Archives.

Neo Update

We want to thank all of Neo's well-wishers who contacted us after our last month's issues. Neo's recovery has been remarkable, although he still needs some more time and healing.

Neo responded very well to his diet of ground Mazuri dispensed by his donated automated feeder. In the past couple weeks we have begun mixing whole food in his bowl to get his crop accustomed to his new diet. So far things are progressing well. The hope is that his crop recovers enough to allow for him to digest a normal waterfowl diet, and he looks to be on that road, although only time will tell.

The bulk of Neo's issues are actually related to balance. He has had to compensate for a bulging crop for so long that his body muscles are strong in the wrong places and weak in the right ones. As a result, he walks with a bit of a drunken stagger. Aside from having to take careful steps, this little fellow is having no difficulties at all and we expect him to be available for adoption in the coming months.

Neo and his good pal Switch are constantly together. Ideally we would like to find Neo a girlfriend and are hoping a family having a hen will want to adopt this beautiful and friendly boy.

Miri & Benny

Since losing her best friend Glory in August, Miri has been a bit of a loner at our sanctuary. We have been doing all we can to afford her special attention and foster a belonging between her and the other hens, but in the end it was Benny who healed her broken heart.

At 10 years old, Miri has been at our sanctuary for nearly 2 years. She is arthritic from age and walks slowly and rests a lot. And since August, she has been mourning the loss of her life-long friend.

Her sadness finally dissipated when Benny joined the flock. Benny has one damaged knee joint and Miri seemed to recognize the similarity between Benny and Glory--who also experienced life on injured legs. Miri took to Benny immediately. They spend every bit of their time together, either swimming on the pond, or sleeping under the berry trees on shore. When Miri walks, she waits for Benny to catch up with her before continuing.

We are so pleased to see this healing with Miri and so pleased to have Benny here with us, mending our hearts as well as hers.


Come Join The Gaggle!

The How-To of Goose Introductions:

We are continually asked about goose introductions and how to safely accomplish adding new members to an existing gaggle. We have always been pretty successful with new introductions, so we thought we'd share our methods with you.

Mac, Fanny, Jett, Joop! & Lewy become fast friends

While newcomers are held in their quarantine pen we make personality evaluations. Mild mannered geese are often easy to slip into a flock of geese because they will quickly give in to an existing alpha gander. Hens are also easy to add to an existing flock of geese. Tempered ganders, on the other hand, can be difficult and take some time to integrate.

Fall and Winter introductions are always easiest because ganders are calmer during this time of year.  This isn't to say introductions cannot take place in Spring or Summer, but the process usually takes more time.

Mac & Fanny have been at our sanctuary since March of this year. Mac is our alpha gander and although he came to us quite naughty, he has since learned some pretty good manners and has turned out to be a very wise leader. He is very good at maintaining flock order and settling any squabbles between other ganders in his pen. He is also the first to sound out warning calls when visitors come to the sanctuary and will actively stand guard and keep a watchful eye when strangers enter his pen or even the neighboring duck pens. In addition to all of this, Mac has quite the ego and he loves to be in charge. All these things add up to mean that although Mac is great with geese he knows, he is very wary of newcomers in his pen.

Introductions are actually pretty easy. When new geese arrive and finish their quarantine regime, we move them to a pen that neighbors Abby's Goose Run--Mac's pen. The wire between adjoining pens must have a tight enough weave to prevent ganders from poking their bills through should they attempt to fight through the fence. We simply zip-tie welded wire mesh to our regular fencing. This barrier goes up about 3 feet from the ground and prevents any bill injuries between opposing ganders.

Since we are most commonly asked how to introduce more aggressive ganders, let's go through this tougher scenario first, then we will cover the easier introductions which include hens and timid ganders.

Tough Guys

Mac will initially sound the alarm and run over to see who the new geese are in the neighboring pen. Sometimes hissing will ensue and some vain attempts at fighting through the fence. This was the case over the summer when we moved two new misbehaved ganders next to Mac.

Duran Duran were two ganders who were so naughty at first that we split them up and put each Duran into their own pen. Their pens neighbored each other and they were both adjacent to Mac's pen. This enabled us to do some good hands-on interaction with each of the Durans while preventing them from ganging up on us. There is strength in numbers and simply by separating the two into different pens, we were able to break down their walls and quickly earn their trust.  It was vital that the Durans pens were side-by-side to prevent stress to them. While we worked on their manners, they each worked on getting to know Mac.  Because each of the Durans were in their own pen, they each had to face Mac through individually. They could not team up to confront him.

After about two weeks it became apparent that the bickering through the fence had ended and Mac was even considering himself Duran Duran's protector. At this point, we opened the first gate and let the more dominant Duran out into The Goose Run first. Mac confronted Duran and showed him he was boss by holding his wings out in display and nipping at the back of Duran's neck. Duran signaled compliance by running away. This confrontation can last anywhere from a few seconds to nearly a minute. Once the pecking order is set, the event is commonly over.

If you do not allow enough time for ganders to get to know each other through the fence, or if you are introducing during the mating season, this display may last longer or be more aggressive.

Two ganders vying for alpha leadership will wrestle with their necks, each trying to get the back of the other gander's neck and pin the other down.  The first to give up and run away loses. Although it is an adrenaline-packed moment, as long as this wrestling match is short-lived and someone gives up and runs away, you are witnessing normal behavior. If you break it up too soon, they will just go through it again next time, so try to give them the opportunity to work out their hierarchy without interference. There can be some running and chasing during this initial conflict, so be careful to remove any tripping obstacles from their pen when you do the introduction. If neither gander gives up within the first 30-45 seconds and their energy is not tapering off, you should step in and break them up and put them back into neighboring pens for a couple more weeks before trying again.

During these introductions, hens in the existing gaggle can commonly be observed cheering on their gander; however, they are normally wise enough to keep themselves well out of harms way. Subordinate ganders also tend to stay out of the way unless they are called in to help. Should this happen, give the two ganders a few seconds to try to resolve the situation. If it appears that things are escalating, or just not tapering off, then separate the newcomer and return them back to their neighboring pen.

Keep yourself calm and maintain a healthy perspective. Remember, much of what you are seeing is part of their display. Outspread wings are meant to look impressive, so don't be startled. A little bit of running around the pen is not likely to result in injury, provided the grounds are safe. If one gander grabs at the feathers behind the other gander's neck in an attempt to pin him down, they should be just fine--give them a chance to resolve it. Don't assign too much importance to display; instead keep a keen eye focused on actual physical contact and escalation of aggression. You don't want to stop the display, but you do want to prevent someone from getting hurt. 

When Mac first joined us, Tutter and Angelo tag-teamed him. Angelo was the alpha in those days and he called Tutter in to back him up. Neither side was able to win the bout and neither were willing to concede. Within 30 seconds we were able to determine that the time had not come yet for this introduction. We removed Mac from the pen and gave them more time to get used to each other on opposite sides of the fence. Some geese acclimate immediately, some in weeks and others still, take months.

Once the new order is set between alpha ganders, you can then focus on introducing new subordinates. These introductions should be pretty uneventful--a quick chase. We always let the dominant gander enter Mac's pen first and then proceed with allowing any subordinate geese into the pen one-by-one.

Once introductions are complete, it will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the gaggle to become cohesive. Fighting should be over, but you will see a bit of uneventful chasing or nervous/uncertain behavior during this time. It is best to have multiple food and water sources to prevent anyone from going hungry or thirsty.

Nice Guys & Gals

Mac meets Jett & Joop!

When Jetti (goose) and Joop! (gander) came to join us they only stayed in a neighboring pen for 15 minutes before entering the Goose Run with Mac. Although some calling through the fence took place initially, it quickly settled into disinterest amongst both groups. There was no hissing and more signs of curiosity than aggression. Since Joop! is the dominant of the pair, we let him out into the pen with Mac first. Mac chased him, Joop! ran and then they were suddenly friends. We let Jetti out next without any incident at all.

Nervous Guys

"Hey, who's the new guy?"

The same was true when we introduced the nervous Lewy to the Goose Run a couple weeks later. After 15 minutes on the other side of the fence, we could tell by the gaggle's behavior and calls that they wanted to meet the newcomer. We opened the gate and let Lewy out. The meeting was uneventful; Mac chased, Lewy ran and it was over.

       Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with any guidance provided on this website. Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state or municipal law or regulation with which such guidance may conflict. Any guidance is general in nature. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any specific circumstances.

© Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary 2008