How to Stop Aggressive Gander?
Geese are a fun animal to keep. They are aesthetically pleasing, look good in ponds, are free range, and are good producers of commercial meat and eggs. There are however times when the gander in the flock gets overly aggressive and begins to cause problems within the flock.
So, what could be the case for this? How do you deal with it? This article sheds light on the topic of aggression in ganders, explaining the reasons for the aggression and the best ways to deal with it to ensure the continuity of your flock.
Why is My Gander So Aggressive?
Aggression is common in poultry and only becomes of concern once they start to inflict physical harm on each other. There are several reasons why your gander could be aggressive to either the people or the other birds of the flock. This aggression is their second nature and they can be very mean at times.
Most of the reasons for aggression are natural and pass with time, so should not be of major concern. Some reasons for aggression in your gander could be:
– Breed Specific
Aggression in ganders can be a result of their breed. While all breeds of geese are aggressive, there are some breeds where the ganders can take the aggression a little bit far. This is usually when you mix the breeds of geese that you are keeping in the same habitat.
Gander breeds that are known to be aggressive include the African goose, the Pekins, the Khaki Campbell, and Welsh Harlequins. These breeds tend not to mix well with each other. Though the female geese from these breeds can coexist peacefully, there tends to be aggression among the gander when the breeds are mixed, as they seek to establish the order of leadership.
It is encouraged that you raise them together from a young age rather than introducing gown gander of different breeds into the same flock.
– Nesting Season
By nature, male geese are very protective of both their females and the eggs that they lay. Ganders guard the geese when they are laying eggs, as they are vulnerable to attacks from predators and external elements. They also look after them when they are incubating the eggs, as they are unable to move freely and fend for themselves.
They do not make light of these protective duties and can get extremely aggressive. There are instances where a gander has attacked an approaching chicken to death, fearing for the safety of the nesting goose. In the nesting area, you will usually notice the gander patrolling the area throughout the day.
They will hiss from time to time and honk to report on the safety status of the nest, reassuring both the incubating goose and the rest of the flock. If they notice anything approaching, they will lower their necks and prepare to charge and attack, pecking the intruder till the danger is averted.
Generally, all gander species are a little aggressive during mating season as they compete for mates and aim to subdue the female geese for mating. This should not be a concern as the aggression will go down as the mating season progresses and the gander will mellow out.
– Protecting Goslings
The protective nature of geese does not just end at the nesting stage, but gets even higher once the goslings come around. This results from the high sense of responsibility to care for the weak within the flock as they develop. A gander will show aggression towards other geese, other poultry, and even humans if they approach the goslings without prior warning.
This is why you should keep other poultry like chicken and guinea fowl from geese with goslings as the gander will attack them. As the farmer, even if the gander knows and likes you, it will still try to attack you if you pick up the goslings or approach the mother goose abruptly.
This is why you should make sure to isolate the gander first before interacting with the goslings, especially if you are inspecting them, vaccinating them, or tagging them for easier identification and monitoring.
– Territorial Behavior
Geese as a species love their space. Once they select their habitat, they will go to great lengths to protect it from predators and other species of poultry and animals. This is usually the cause of some aggression in ganders towards new people, other birds, and sometimes even other animals.
If their space is inadequate, they will attack the animals in their surroundings to drive them away and increase their territory. If the food is insufficient, they will invade the territories of their birds and attack them to take their food. This territorial behavior is usually initiated by the stronger gander in the flock.
There are times when a gander will attack the ganders, female geese, or even an innocent bystander with little to no provocation when they feel their space is being taken advantage of. This is why you should ensure that your flock has adequate food and space to live comfortably.
– Flock Dominance
The pecking order exists and all poultry and geese are no exception. In the flock, the gander likes to ensure that it is the strongest and the first to all resources including food, space, and mates. This is usually the case of aggression if the flock has more than one gander.
The existing gander will try to establish an order of dominance within the flock with the strongest one being the leader and the rest being the followers. This is natural and good for the flock as the leader takes on the responsibility of both protection and providing and will ensure that the flock is well taken care of.
Aggression to establish dominance may arise with the introduction of a new gander or goose to the flock as the newcomer tries to determine their position in the pecking order.
How do Deal with Aggressive Ganders?
There are many ways that you can deal with aggressive ganders. The first is to ensure that there is a balance in the male-to-female reaction in the flock. A good balance is usually one male to six females or more. Any less will lead to some aggression, especially during the breeding season.
The other option is to isolate the gander at the safety of the rest of the flock. Finally, ensure that there are enough resources for all the geese to live comfortably. This is in terms of food, pond and coop space, and feeders. This will help to avoid aggression and infighting among your ganders as they fight for dominance over the scarce resources.
How to Stop Gander from Biting Me?
If the gander is aggressive towards people, especially visitors, then it is best to warn people. Do not turn your back to the gander, as this will leave you exposed to a potential attack. Do not yell or approach the gander with excessive noise, as this will spook it and could trigger its fight mode.
There are some steps that you can take to protect yourself as a farmer and one involves wearing gloves to avoid getting attacked when you deliver food to the ganders. The other is to walk around with small soft toys that you can throw at the ganders when you notice them coming in for an attack.
New farmers like to feed their ganders with treats regularly, this is highly discouraged as it trains them to expect treats whenever they see you. If you approach them without the treats, they tend to get overly aggressive and attack in the hopes of getting the treats off you.
Can You Separate Aggressive Gander?
Yes, this is a good way to solve the aggressive gander problem. Even though geese and swarms are known to mate for life, you can still separate an aggressive gander. You just have to make sure that it can still see the other geese and ganders in the flock.
This can be done by separating the coop with a mesh such that the aggressive gander is secluded but still visible to the rest of the flock. This will allow it to experience isolation without loneliness and such its appetite and health will not be affected.
You can separate it for a period of one or two months, or the entire breeding season and reintroduce it to the flock after.
Aggression is natural in ganders. They will either attack their fellow geese, other animals, and even humans from time to time. They are easily spooked and are very competitive, hence some aggression is expected.
You should be concerned in case one gander is overly aggressive to the rest, affecting their health, eating habits, and egg-laying habits. Such a gander should be separated from the flock for a little while and introduced later once it has calmed down and the rest of the geese have bonded.
Always be alert when interacting with your geese to avoid surprise attacks or injury to yourself. Hopefully, this article has helped shed some light on the issues and offered you some good remedies to gander aggression.