Monday, November 15, 2010

Feathered Family

Early Sunday morning, Ginger was attacked.

The dog who lives across the street got free of his chain and came to kill our animals.  I'm told he has a history of this, it's what he does.  Being unable to get to the chickens, the dog got into the geese's pen and went after them.  Ferdi got free.  Ginger was not so lucky.  He had her by the throat and was biting to kill.  Ferdi screamed and screamed to alert someone.  I ran out of the house at the sound--I have never heard anything like it before.  It was horrible.  I tripped and fell hard onto the pavement, scraping my knee and tearing my hand open.  I got up and ran like hell to the pen.  I don't know how the dog got off her.  I don't know if I grabbed him, or if he left of his own accord.  But he was off, and Ginger lay there, limp.  Her neck was turned to the side, and she lay on her back with her legs flopping in the air.  I thought she was dead.

I picked her up easily-she didn't move.  I looked at her.  I saw blood, but most of it was my own from my hand.  I didn't see any from Ginger, but geese (especially these two) are SO well covered in down and feathers, that I don't always see the wound underneath.  I looked at her face.  Her eyes were open and she blinked at me.  She was still limp as a doll, so I brought her over to a chair and held onto her.  I thought that he had broken her neck and she was going to die right there, but I felt her neck, and it felt sound to me.  I felt her breastbone and legs and wings and didn't feel anything wrong.  She was still in shock, and I wasn't really sure if there was something internal.  I just sat with her in my lap and honestly, cried.

In the meantime, Jeff had run out of the house in his PJs and bare feet and had caught the dog.  The dog didn't run away.  It didn't threaten anyone.  He looked like he had done a good thing and was pleased and waiting for Jeff to be pleased with him.  Jeff grabbed him by the collar and dragged him back across the street.

I sat with Ginger.  My hand bled like a stuck pig, and my socks were drenched from the puddle I must have stood in.  It was cold and my hand hurt, but I wasn't going to move.  After quite a while, Ginger turned herself over and I looked her over again and again.  I still didn't see anything.  I realized that the dog must have done what dogs do--he went for the base of her throat, and that may have been the saving grace.  Geese have about 4 inches of feathers and down at the base of their necks.  It seems he didn't get a good grip on her flesh--all he got were feathers.  I didn't feel any punctures.  It seemed she might have been spared.

Ginger sat with me for a long, long time.  Many of her wing feathers were torn out and there was a little blood from the quills.  I stroked her and held her, and she put her head on my shoulder to sleep, seeming to need the comfort.  In the meantime, Ferdi paced and circled and paced.  He was beside himself with worry.  He watched her and would graze, and then would watch her and come close to me to look at her (unusual for him if you know Ferdi--he's not a "get close to you" kind of guy anymore).  He was so concerned, that Reid, who is Public Goose Enemy #1, was seen as even more of a threat.  Instead of just attacking Reid's shoes, as he normally would do, Ferdi attacked his pants again and again and would not let go.  There was no way to stop him--he was hell bent on protecting Ginger from the "threat".  We had to send Reid inside so he wouldn't get hurt.

The day went on, but I did spend a lot of time with Ginger, just sitting with her and holding her close.  She slept in my lap with her head next to mine, and at one point, Ferdi came an stood on me and took a nap--unheard of at this point in his life, really.  He wanted to be near to his mate, even if it meant being close to me.  I think it was quite the sight, I wish I had a picture.  Ginger, with her head tucked into my chin, sleeping, and Ferdi, standing on one of my legs, on one leg, with his head tucked behind his wing.  Hours later, blood did seep from the one wound she seems to have gotten--a puncture under her wing.  I went to Agway right away and got some Vetwrap and some medication.  I treated her puncture and put her hanging wing in a sling.

On Sunday, Ginger really did not eat or drink or move very much.  Yesterday was mostly the same.  She stood apart from everyone else, and Ferdi was the only one following me around the yard.  However, at the end of the day, I did notice she seemed more "Ginger-like".  She had her sparkle back in her eye and she seemed a bit more alert.  She still didn't eat, but I did see her drink.  When I checked on her puncture wound, she was calm and the wound didn't smell--a good sign.  Today, she seems even more like herself.  She is much less patient with me, and didn't want me to sling her wing, even though I know she appreciates it.  She did eat a little.  I have got my fingers crossed that she's going to be ok.

I have always known how important Ginger and Ferdi are to me.  I feel very differently about them than I do the chickens.  I really do like the chickens, but if I were to lose one or two, I would be looking at not only a loss of the animal, but more the time it took to raise the animal, the cost, and then the number of eggs that wouldn't be produced.  I guess that's like looking at it in hard facts.  The geese, I don't know, they are so like companions, and I see them very differently.  I'm in the yard, they are in the yard.  I go here, they go here.  I talk to them, they talk to me.  (I plant garlic, they pull the garlic back out again.)  They have rich, full personalities, like them or not, and they are smart as whips and stubborn as mules.  It's hard not to respect them or feel like they are friends.  So I have been very worried for my little friend, and I am hoping with all my might she will be ok.  If you have a minute, send a little hope our way, ok?  I think we can use it.

1 comment:

  1. Poor Ginger. I hope she's ok and feeling better tomorrow.


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