On Tuesday I posted a photo to Facebook. This one:
I rabbited on about how we love Joel Salatin but we don't love his poultry pens that he recommends for meat birds because they are too cage-like. I righteously noted that we'd developed a more chook-friendly design (a hoop house) and how wonderful our REALLY free range chooks were.
Obviously the damn sea hawks ARE ON FACEBOOK. How else did they know?? Having only lost the very occasional chicken to hawks and crows (once we learnt the hard way not to let the tiny weeny birds out till they were about four weeks old), we suddenly lost four over twenty-four hours. AARGH!
So yesterday I suggested geese. They apparently make pretty good guards for chickens. We lived next door to geese for over a year before we moved to the farm, and we're still very close to our neighbours. Adam rang our friend Martin and asked if we could borrow a goose. Sure, said Martin. Take two! Adam went up to Martin's, competently caught two geese and transported them safely home. He wondered about clipping a wing but we knew these geese and had never ever seen them fly. Ever. They're a big heavy breed. I assured him they'd be fine.
They seemed pretty happy in with the little meat birds. Hooray! Genius idea!
After letting them settle in I popped down the paddock to check on them mid-morning. As I rounded the corner I startled them and with divine syncronicity, they shot up in the air and soared over the hedge, over my neighbour's farm and all the way down the the golf course.
Poop. Poop poop pooooop.
I took a container of feed, tied up Holly because she never liked geese anyway, and took off over my neighbour's farm down to the golf course. Luckily the farm manager from next door was there to see me running down the hill crying "goose goose goosey?!" shaking my container of feed. Any fiasco that's to be had, Michael's there to witness it. The geese had circled the golf course and come to rest next to the neighbour's dam and Michael said wonderingly, "Are they your geese?" and I said "not exactly" and he said, "I didn't know geese could fly like that!" Damn flying geese.
Of course they discovered the dam. Of course the dam is enormous and has an island in the middle of it. Yep, they're going to be dead easy to recover.
Needless to say they're still there. It was a big day of deliveries and orders today and we're not exactly sure how to retrieve them. They seem very happy.
In other news we haven't lost any more meat birds to hawks.
Here are the geese photographed when I lived next door to them in happier, less complicated days.
I'm not sure how to tell Martin.
Maybe I'll suggest an alpaca for the chickens.
Maybe Adam will fire me. Can he fire me? I should fire myself. Goose.