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 How do geese live so peacefully together?

I'm going to preface this by pointing out that there are huge differences between domestic farm geese and wild geese in their social behavior.  Domestic geese have maintained many of the wonderful characteristics of the wild goose, but many have had to change due the restrictions we have placed on them.  I am referring only to wild geese, because we'll discuss the differences between the wild and the domestic at another time.  If you understand how they behave in the wild, it is easy to see how domestication has changed them. 

We discussed the lack of a pecking order in a previous answer, so gaggles of geese don't behave out of intimidation or fear of the "Alpha Male", yet very large groups of geese consisting of adult males and females, single and mated and their families live in almost perfect peace with only a few rare disruptions.  Two major contributing factors are the lack of any need to compete for females or for food.   They mate for life and rarely fight over females because basically if the girl doesn't want the male, they appear wise enough to know that any kind of relationship is not worth pursuing ,and they go on to find a girl who show some interest in them.  Most animals fight over territory, because their territory provides them food.  Geese don't have to worry about that as they can usually find all the food they need.....if it is not here, then they can fly over there.  So that explains the lack of discord to a large degree, but not all of it.  Geese do have a definite territory to protect when the female is nesting and once in a while there will be an argument over who gets to nest where, but in general they respect each others choice and give them their privacy.  Many humans have intruded on their nesting territory accidentally or on purpose and think geese are really mean because they attack them and chase them away.  Truth is; they aren't mean, the human was rude.  And there you have it.  The glue that holds geese together is manners!  Geese are polite and they have rules they live by.  They seem to be born knowing the rules, as even when they aren't raised by goose mothers they still have good manners.  However, they do have free will.  No one  group or boss enforces those rules, but if a goose disregards them and in doing so continually disrupts the group, he is, in the end, ostracized and has to leave the group to find companionship.  That is the one thing a goose must have, companionship, and it is what makes them such a great companion for man.  Because they don't need companionship in order to get something like food or shelter, they want companionship for companionship's sake only.  They ask nothing, want nothing and don't feel they need anything.  Even domestic geese who can no longer fly and need us for food and shelter, don't feel dependent on us.  Inside, mentally, they are still the wildly independent creature they were born to be.  Sometimes a couple of ganders will bond together and get carried away with their power, and start intimidating the other geese in the gaggle, but this has no relation to a pecking order because they don't do it to gain anything.  They don't take females and how are they going to keep the others from food...it's everywhere.  No, they are just bullies and eventually when one of them gets hurt or killed, they are drummed out of the gaggle.  Many times what people see that makes them think there is a pecking order among geese is one goose that all the others follow and hang around.  That is the goose they like and respect the most....just like our President only he has no control over them.  There are levels of popularity in a gaggle and one thing they are based on is how many children a couple has successfully raised.  Yes, the best parents are the most respected.  It is very difficult to raise goslings in the wild.  Everything is after them and the geese can provide only so much protection.  The young geese stay with their parents for at least a year, sometimes two and have a loving relationship for life.  We have enjoyed living with three geese and a duck in a 30 ft. RV for 9 years.  I don't think we could have done that with any other animals.  The one thing that made it possible was their good manners.


How does my duck/goose understand me so well?  Is he/she psychic?

This is a question I have pondered for some time, ever since I had my first duck, Matilda.  It didn't take long for Matilda and me to form a relationship that didn't need many words.  She could look at me and I would know what she wanted; I could look at her and she would know what I wanted!  One example is the time I had her on retractable leash crossing a street in downtown Tempe, AZ.  I needed to hurry her up a bit so I pulled up on the leash, but forgot to lock it.  Matilda unexpectedly flew about 10 feet in front of me.  When I reached her, she looked at me; I looked at her and from that day forward, when my foot set down beside her, she dropped her weight on the leash, I lifted and she flew about 10 or 15 ft. ahead of me.  We walked everywhere that way without a word every being spoken! I have had and have been told of many instances where a pet duck/goose has reacted differently to someone with an illness or problem...Maggie has done this many times.  She is very responsive to the autistic and they to her.  I know of one little autistic boy whose parents accidentally wound up with a duck for him and they are very close.  The boy has never responded much to their German Shepherd, but he tells the duck his problems and has told the duck, "I know you understand."  I don't have time to relate the many stories I've been told...most of them will be in my next book that I'm working on.  I don't have an answer to this question and I don't think anyone does.  I can come up with quite a few explanations of why dogs and even cats may recognize these things as the instincts they require as predators help them to be aware of and identify problems, but ducks and geese don't have those instincts.  For now I just want to go on record as saying I do BELIEVE that these birds have some abilities far beyond what we can understand.  I can't explain them, but I know they exist and I don't believe that they are the same in all the birds.  I am pretty sure some have stronger abilities than others and some have different abilities, just as some of us are artist and some are mathmaticians.  I do want to stress that I have never been to a psychic or fortune teller of any kind...I'm not putting them down or the people who go to them and even depend on them.  I just want everyone to know that I am basically a very practical person.  I'm into history, not science fiction, but sometimes you just know something or feel something and the fact that you can't explain it, isn't going to make it go away.  I would urge all of you duck and goose lovers to trust your own instincts; trust the gifts Mother Nature has given these remarkable creatures and trust your own ability to recognize them, enjoy them, use them and appreciate them.  Please don't let other people's opinions force you to deny what you feel in your heart is true.