Gander with gumption


Rambunctious goose rules roost with iron beak

Sometimes I think Crocodile Dundee doesn't have a thing on us. We never know what the day holds and sometimes it holds more than we expect.

The complaint was a down cow. She had gone down sometimes in the nightand couldn't get up. It is a common problem with cows and one of the mostcommon reasons I go on calls.

When I left the clinic, I figured it was just another down cow and Iwould be back in a short while. I had not been to this farm before, butI knew where it was. The owner informed me that he would not be there, butdescribed in detail where the cow was.

All in order

I arrived and found things just as he had described them. I went througha gate and approached a rundown barn with chicken wire pens all around it.It was obvious that the place had run down quite a bit over the years. Therewere animals of all kinds. I saw goats, peacocks and pigs, just runningaround loose; horses, barking dogs, rabbits in cages, chickens of all sizesand breeds, a llama, sheep and a few dairy cows.

The directions said to go through the barn and the cow would be justpast the next gate past the water trough.

I made my way to the barn and came to an incredible realization. Themanure in the barn had built up so much over the years that I actually hadto stoop over to walk. There must have been 10 ft. of manure covering thefloor of this barn. I squatted down and began the trek. I was carrying afew things that I thought might be needed to work on the cow. The furtherI went, the lower the clearing became. By the time I was in the middle ofthe barn, I was on my hands and knees to go under each rafter. Wow!

Sneak attack

About halfway through, I heard a loud noise coming at me from my leftside. It was a gurgled hissing sound that was accompanied by the sound offlat feet hitting on moist ground. It was dark in that direction, so I couldnot focus on what it was. My mind was racing as I anticipated the creatureentering the columns of light that penetrated from various openings in thebarn.

Until you are on your hands and knees atop at 10-ft. manure pile insidea dimly lit barn, you never realize how big a male goose is. In fact, asthis monster came into focus, he appeared to be about 5 ft. tall! This goosehad teeth and one big horn in the middle of its head (or at least it appearedthis way from my vantage point.)

I was looking at my supplies to determine what would be best to use asa weapon to defend myself. This goose was coming fast, and he meant business.He had a supporting cast of about six female geese forming at this flanks.The moment found me under an extended joist and unable to stand up. I reachedinto my bag and retrieved a plastic bottle of glucose. I gripped it tightlyin my right hand and prepared for the worst. I was wondering how much ofthis goose was bluff and how much was really fight. The question was answereda second later.

Worst nightmare

He spread his wings just before he got me and then gave me a mighty peckon the side of my head and the brim of my cap. The entire time he was makinga wicked hissing sound while the female chorus spread out and honked endlesslyfrom all directions.

The repeated pecks to the head area only served to change my initialfear to anger. It hurt just enough to make me mad. I didn't know what todo. I did not want to hurt him, but I didn't want to keep taking a headpeckin' either!

By now they had backed me into a corner and the noise level was remarkableas they honked and hissed at the intruding doctor. Here I was, in a barnfull of dookie, backed in a corner, being attacked by a gaggle of geese.I was unable to stand up, had nothing to defend myself with but a bottleof glucose and was afraid of hurting them if I retaliated too harshly.


When all else fails, yell

I decided to try the "get big and get loud" approach, hopingthis would scare them off. I got as tall as I could as the area allowedand screamed, "Get outta here goose!" at the top of my lungs.It worked. They ran off toward the door, flapping and honking as they went.

They stayed just beyond the shadow of the door and just looked at me.As long as I was still, they were quiet and stayed away. If I made a movementto gather my things or head toward the door, they would honk and run myway. This went on for a few minutes while I pondered a plan. Finally, Idecided to just get up and go to the cow. If they got in my way, I wouldjust run over them. I made my way in the direction of the cow. This infuriatedthem. They ran and hissed at me with all they had. I just plowed throughthem like a fullback and made it to the side of the cow.

Ruler of roost

I began my usual treatment to help the cow. A curious dog ambled overto investigate the situation only to be chased off by the giant goose witha horn. It was very apparent that this goose ruled the farm. The treatmentincluded a bottle of fluid to be given intravenously at a slow rate. I hadto sit on the side of this cow for 30 minutes and defend myself from anattack force of geese. They never left, and I never gave up.

By the time I returned to the clinic, I felt like I had boxed 12 rounds.I decided I would rather combat a mad dog than a herd of geese in a manure-filledbarn.

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