Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wild Goose Chase

Well sometimes dog crates are useful for carrying animals other than dogs in them! My friend who has a small farm including chickens, ducks, goats, sheep and a LLama, recently saw some geese in the front yard of a property while driving on the highway to town. She thought to herself " boy I'd really like to get some nice big geese like those" Well in an odd stroke of rural synchronicity, the man who lived in that house somehow knew that she had a farm full of animals. The very next day after my friend saw the geese, the man came knocking on her door asking if she had lost some geese. She said no, and he offered them to her because they had shown up on his place and he was feeding them but didn't really want them. I suppose there may be something to the mindset of asking the universe and then receiving your request. She called me up to see if I would help round up the geese and transport them back to her house. I decided to take my old 12 year old Australian Cattle dog with me as he is intelligent, a mind reader, and relatively mellow around livestock as compared to my younger Australian Shepherd who is learning but not so quick to understand my wishes and not quite so reliable. I have recently had the Aussie Shepherd with goats, but on a leash with a large link choke chain and a few corrections, Woodhouse style, before he fell in line. I loaded up my car with a large dog crate, my dog, a puffy winter jacket and gloves, for my protection, and drove to my friend's house where we loaded up her car with a large dog crate, fencing and protective gear.Before heading off, I had to sarcastically mention, as I am at heart, rather a rational, analytical, person " pardon me for asking but how much do geese cost to buy them, and is it worth all the risk of injury and trouble to get some free ones?". But of course as she is my friend, and who can really pass up a rural adventure and the chance for a good story?, so off we went. With three adults, one elderly Australian Cattle dog and a large piece of sturdy fencing(not chicken wire) we set about our task. My friend had had some previous experience herding and rounding up poultry and discovered that this sturdier, larger about 5ft by 7ft piece of rigid but wavy fencing was best. After a few humorous attempts with people going in one direction and the geese spooked and moving away from us, we got the dog on a leash and opened the door into a shed and the dog made some high pitched yipping sounds, and the three people made a semi circle, walking in towards them, so the geese quickly ran away from us and into the shed. We then put the fencing on top of them,as they were cornered in the back, and then we put a large dog crate with the door open and some food trailing up to and into the dog crate, on the opposite end, and then pushed on the back of the fencing, that was over top of the geese and like toothpaste moving up the tube, herded them into the large dog crate, relatively easily, with no one getting bitten, flapped at, or injured, just hissed at by the biggest goose whose neck seemed as big around as my thigh almost. Phew, we were thinking, we might have had to grab them like a football, as the book said and lift them into the crate! My little rescue Australian Cattle dog seemed pleased at the job he'd done. We were all relieved that it went relatively quickly and easily including the part where we two women lifted a dog crate full of 4 large geese into the car, and then out and up a snowy, icy, hill to the enclosed poultry area without dropping them. There were a few tense moments of geese distress when we accidentally tilted the dog crate while walking up the hill, but not too unsettling for the geese when everything was said and done. The geese are now doing well with their new poultry family.

1 comment:

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