Get Stuffed 

More than a golden egg

Page 2 of 3

Originally, Carmen had her heart set on fuzzy yellow ducklings to add to her pet kingdom and replace a much-loved potbellied pig, who died suddenly two years ago. But a kind farmer near 89 Mile House talked her into adopting the two geese instead. They were yellow, after all, when she got them as week-old goslings, albeit a funny kind of mustardy greenish-yellow.

"Domestic geese don’t sit on their eggs very long, then they leave them, so the fatality rate is pretty high. So when the mother goose laid the eggs, the farmer put them under a chicken, which will sit and sit and sit on them," explains Carmen. "When they hatched, they thought the chicken was their mother."

This isn’t unusual, with young geese known to imprint on the first large animal they see – a dog, a hen, even a human. Ergo the ongoing adventures of Ontario’s Bill Lishman as a "Father Goose" figure, teaching orphaned Canadian geese safe migratory routes using an ultralight aircraft.

In Snorkel and Goggles’ case not only did they imprint on hen as mother, she reciprocally imprinted on them. When they first took to water, as geese are prone to do but chickens are not, Ms. Hen would freak out, squawking and flapping in a frenzy, fearful her baby "chicks" would drown. Once home with their new mother at the Traub estate, swimming was encouraged.

"They love baths," says Carmen. "I fill the tub really, really full and they swim around for a while, splashing and making a big mess. Then I drain it halfway and they wash themselves for an hour and a half. They are super clean creatures – they preen and preen and preen."

Carmen loves being close to her pets, and there have been many over the years besides the potbellied pig – a snake which got to be a little scary, a hamster, chickens she had to send back because they turned into roosters, and, currently, a blue heeler and part-Akita along with a parakeet and a young cockatiel to keep Snorkel and Goggles company. Throughout their respective reigns, the family home has been their castle.

This meant early in the goose saga, Carmen learned in a very immediate sense the likely origins of the expression "loose as a goose". She quickly ordered appropriate diapers on-line.

One of the main reasons Ebden geese are raised commercially is that they grow so fast. By the time the diapers arrived via mail, and we’re only talking two weeks here, they no longer fit the fat little goosy bottoms. So Carmen had to improvise, much to the delight of everyone who’s seen the geese wearing their brightly coloured diapers.

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