I have 4 pair of geese, rather 4 males and 4 females who just finished their first winter. They mated as a polyamorous clutch, no evidence of pair bonding. In fact, tons of observation of quite the opposite. 3 of the females tried to brood, one sat it out until her goslings hatched this weekend. The ganders tried to attack the mother and goslings they day they hatched, so we've been keeping them separated. But the goose is honking non-stop, like a bleeping foghorn. I tried to let the flock approach today, to see if that helped, and she was running back and forth along the fence in the rain, challenging one of the ganders while the babies stood dripping in the rain. I penned the flock back up.
Do you think I should put one of the other females in with the mother, just to give her an auntie and frankly shut her up? If not, how long do I need to keep the goslings away from the flock? I'm already brooding turkeys and ducks, can't really manage to take these goslings away from mom on top of everything else.
She's still making a racket, but the other geese are a bit calmer today. The goslings are looking good-amazing what fresh grass and a day of sunshine will do. Still looking for ideas, so as to prevent the neighbors from getting further annoyed.
The honking continues, but this morning a new wrinkle. Mother goose broke out of her pen (how?) and was discovered only as she paraded there goslings past the adult geese. The flock\ naturally attempted to charge through the unelectrified electronet fence (turned off because during breeding season the ganders were trying to kill each other with it). Everyone was restored to their proper section on the homestead in short order. The adult geese are growing less responsive to Mom's constant shrieks. I did get to apologize/explain to the nearest neighbor what was going on. If only she had picked a gander instead of consorting with them all, she'd have some help and it would be a lot quieter. She's a really good mom, even if her fidelity is completely lacking.
Quiet was restored a few days ago. The mother and goslings got out of the fence again and they got all mixed together with the adults. I separated them back into the adults and the family, but allowed one gander that was acting protective to stay with her so long as she tolerated it. He's been at the bottom of the heap with the males for a while, but now he is puffed up and proud, parading his goslings around. The whole family is doing great, and the rest of the geese have settled down. Not sure when I'll try to put them all together. I want to let the goslings get a little more size on them.
It turned out that the two geese I hoped would bond (my favorite male and female) are now together. I hope the hormonal surge (DH says it's oxytocin in mammals, which also keeps voles monogamous, but he's not sure what the avian homolog might be, could also be elevated prolactin in the males) lasts beyond this clutch because I'd like to keep them as a pair.