When Clay came home with our batch of spring chicks a few weeks ago (from Estes Hatchery) they came with a special companion -- a little brown Chinese Goose.
The idea is that this little goose will help protect our chickens when we let some of them become free range this summer. Though he is just a soft, fluffy little baby himself this goose has jumped into his role as protector with both over-sized web feet. The chicks immediately assumed he was their mother and began following him everywhere, cheeping plaintively and draping themselves over him during nap time. They have even taken to wildly catapulting themselves onto his back if he stands up for too long. I have not managed to get a picture of him snuggled up under his little pile of baby chicks because the instant he catches sight of me he leaps up and sounds the alarm. It seems that he will do well as guardian goose.
There is some concern about him showing a cheerful disposition towards our children as he grows (rapidly) bigger. However, so far he seems sweet and docile when we handle him. During his free time in the mud room he waddles around after the kids, whistling loudly, and climbing on their laps when they sit down.
I have taken to calling him Harpo, due to the constant stream of his whistles and honks. Every time I hear him I am reminded of this scene from the Marx Bros. "A Day at the Races":
Margaret calls him Harpo Louis, after the Trumpet of the Swan.