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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

Animal Care—Geese

It’s not easy to find animal care for two dogs, one turkey, two geese, three chickens, four ducks, multiplying swordtails, and a neighboring peacock who comes and goes—but we lucked out. My vet lives next door, and her son loves both the animals and the money I pay for their care while we’re away.

I wouldn’t want the job. Ducks and geese are messy eaters, and they love fresh water after they dabble in the mud. Water freezes at night now, which means one had better dump the birds’ “bath tubs” every night and make sure the hose runs down hill all the way—no humps, or it will freeze tight. Which means big trouble—several buckets of water to carry down to the pen every morning.

Geese are fussy, and not only about their water. Lucy turns up her nose at honey dew melon rinds if they are too ripe, or too green, or not honey dew. She also likes lettuce and cauliflower leaf trimmings, but nothing else. I tried green beans once. Bad idea.

Geese do turn up their noses, they really do, even if they don’t have noses. It’s very clear. When Lucy takes a bite of something new, shakes her head, and spits out “ptui”, I know I’d had better go buy some more honey dew.

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