Back in Time - Mom's Geese

This is a repost from 2014. Spring always brings back memories of the geese Mom raised on the farm. 

Nesting Goose
approx. 1977
My mother loved her geese, and the numbers grew steadily every year. It was common to see the flock (gaggle) parade around the yard and even across the County road to swim in the irrigation ditch. One year the ditch rider complained about the geese in the ditch, but his complaints fell on deaf ears because the geese kept the algae in the ditch under control.

Mom's flock of geese grew to nearly 50 in 1977

Mom's geese got a bit territorial in the spring, and it was wise to give them a wide berth, especially near their nests. The goose and gander took turns sitting on the large eggs, and they both would extend their necks and hiss if someone got too close to the nest.

It was common to see the ganders chase the dogs across the yard if they got too close to the flock or to the goslings. I've also seen the geese as well as the ganders chase people who got too close. Trust me, you do not want a goose to slap you with their wings or bite you. 

snacking on the lawn in front of the house
approx. 1973

One year, my nephews took a gosling from a nest to raise at their home in the Gas Hills. They named the goose, Charlie because they thought it was a gander; however, Charlie was a goose. She was spoiled and eventually came back to live on the farm and raise goslings of her own.

approx. 1973

For several years, around the holidays, my mother took orders for freshly killed and dressed geese. On those occasions, I helped her catch and kill the geese. It was crucial to grab the geese at the base of their wings and hold tight; if not, they could slap with their powerful wings, and that hurt!

Mom discarded the feathers, but saved the goose down in a bag and hung it on the clothesline. When the bag was full, she would launder the fluffy down and save it for pillows. I still have some of Mom's goose-down pillows.

The female geese were gray; the males, white.

The geese could be quite vocal, too, and sometimes were better than a barking dog for announcing unexpected visitors.

Mom's geese did not fly; however, they often tried, but they simply could not get off of the ground high enough to call it flying.


  1. Such wonderful memories. I was terrified of geese as a kid because one of my mom's friends had geese. They were like watchdogs when we came to visit - ran right out to "greet" us, honking and nipping at me.

  2. Living near the water I run into angry geese quite often. They nest all over the place and get very territorial. I have to watch Pup like a hawk right now or else she might just find out the hard way how mean they can be. She got a good scolding from two angry mallards the other day down at the marina.

  3. Such interesting memories, thanks for sharing. But I have to ask, what is a ditch rider? Having home grown goose down pillows sound wonderful.

  4. That post brought back such a funny memory of a goose encounter. They really CAN be a bit of a pill can't they?

  5. This was really interesting Nancy. I have had a few close encounters with geese and know from personal experience that they can be quite crabby and territorial.
    I have the same question as Jenny though. What is a ditch rider? And here I thought I was born and raised in farmlands. lol

  6. I know about ditch riders from Linda's Life on a Colorado Farm! We had neighbors that had geese and getting out of a vehicle in that farm yard was an adventure! I have feather pillows from my Grandmother...I treasure them:)

  7. Fun and interesting post Nancy. Did you ever have goose for dinner at your house? I remember geese chasing us in the Houston suburbs...there was a lake near my brother's house and we used to walk around it every evening after dinner. Geese lived there and they did not like any human!! LOL

  8. We always had geese, ducks and chickens--I miss them, too! I loved this post-thanks for sharing it again!

  9. I was sure you would say your mother couldn't stand to have the geese become meals. Boy was I wrong. Eh, I've always gotten my meat through a grocery store! I'm sure I would be a total vegetarian if I really faced up to what happens to animal who become our food. On the other hand, my experience with geese are the number of Canadian geese that hang around many of the places I've lived (some not even migrating north during winter...) But, oh I would have loved a down pillow. I still sleep on feather pillows but not just down.... Fun info esp. for this suburbs grown gal!


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