Barnyard Bird Gangs

Right behind the house we have about a half of an acre fenced in. It has the beaver swamp on one side, and they’ve raised the level of the pond enough that a lot of that fence line is actually in the water these days.

Sigh For a while, we had the turkeys behind electrified poultry netting, in front of one of the sheds. I’m amazed that worked as long as it did, but it’s pretty useless these days. I’m trying hard to keep the turkeys in back, though. Friendly as they are, they can be pretty intimidating to visitors. I keep doing things to raise the height of the fence, and they just keep roosting higher and higher. It’s a good thing they are so cute!

My geese Our gaggle of geese is back there, too. For a while in previous years, we’d let them out in front, but found that it was pretty stressful for them to feel like they had to protect the whole farm, which they did. They are far more relaxed in back, as long as they get some attention from me a couple of times a day. They used to groom me while I milked Elly, when they’d tell me all about their Very Important Goosie Things. I nodded and smiled a lot, being sure they all got as much eye contact as they wanted. After a few minutes, they’d wander off. I miss that! Since they’ve had the goslings, they’d kept more distant, though yesterday I got my hair groomed again while I was filling up the wading pool.

I’m pretty sure filling up that wading pool is probably my favorite time of day, especially in the morning before it gets too hot out or the bugs get bad. The Saxony ducks come running when they see me. Water! Water! When I spray the water in the air, they snap their beaks at it, jump up and down. When the water gets a couple of inches deep, they are absolutely incapable of staying out of it.

Three gangs of birds They stay and play until the geese show up. Ooh, the scary geese! They pretty much rule the back yard still, though having 70 turkeys out there has given them a little competition for barnyard bullies. We seem to have detente now — 31 ducks, 70 turkeys and 13 geese. Each gang pretty much leaves the other alone now. They even all sort of politely take turns with the sheds where we feed them.

Adding two dogs into the mix changes everything, of course, and the Icies are almost always with me. Bjarki loves loves loves to get squirted with the hose, year round, but especially in the summer. I throw their stick for them when I get tired of squirting him, and try to get it someplace really tricky so that it takes them a little while to find it. (Mean Mom!) As soon as I throw the stick, the ducks run for the pool and enjoy it until the dogs get back, when they need to give the stick a dip in the pool too. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The way Bjarki is able to ignore that gaggle of geese just cracks me up. He will NOT move, he won’t be chased, he won’t acknowledge their existence. Disa can’t do that. If they start to look at her, she takes the challenge and barks at them, and they love to make her run away. He’ll ignore them even if they get really really close to goosing him (which hurts!) but they don’t actually do it, so he wins. (and loves it)

Ignoring geese is hard!

Ignoring the geese is really hard!

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