Hissy fits Geese

Geese lecturing a duck, Locust Lane, 2011

Dear Chicken Lady, I like all the stories you tell about geese but I’m kinda scared to get them for our barnyard. They always seem mean and hiss at me.  Sincerely, Scared of their hissy fits

     Dear Hissy Fit, Of course they hiss. I’ll bet you’ve had coworkers who hiss, a spouse who hisses at times — and I guarantee if you have kids, you and they have done plenty of hissing at each other. It’s all about who is top in the pecking order and is a finely tuned dance of power. There are times you know not to hiss back to your spouse or fellow employees but there are also times when you spread your wings, stretch your neck and hiss louder than anyone else and it seems to work. If you haven’t ever tried it you should. It is a very satisfying feeling. You just have to test your boundaries, and that’s all the geese are doing.

There are very few times when they will actually attack — when they are defending a nest or have become mean from being teased too much by dogs or kids. If they’re not attacking, just hiss back. You are bigger and louder, and while you don’t have much to intimidate with in the way of wings, beak or even a long neck, you size means you win. We don’t have any problems with our geese. They do their job of eating grass, we do our job of providing water and supplemental food and all is well.  Sincerely, Chicken Lady

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