Tuesday, 12 November 2013


We have many animals here and I've mentioned many of them in passing but this one deserves a special mention.

I'd like you to meet Gammy.  Gammy is a gosling and he has a gammy leg.  We saved him from his parents when they had kicked him out of the nest.   He was cold, not moving much and looked nearly dead.

We were very happy when we gave him warmth and love and watched him quickly revive.  He became Belle's special pet.  She has always been the poultry child who spend hours on end with the chooks and I'm sure she was secretly pleased that the parents had rejected one of their goslings.
We were very proud of ourselves for having saved his life.  It's a very satisfying feeling.  Then after a couple of days we realised he couldn't walk properly.  We continued fussing and caring for him but became concerned he wasn't going to survive.

After a week however, he was able to push himself to a stand and walk a few steps at a time.  He was very cute.  If I left his sight to cook in the kitchen he would start chirping like crazy and trot into the kitchen to sit by my feet.  Needless to say, we were all a bit in love with Gammy by this stage.
 We figured that as he aged he would get stronger.  We tried to address his weakness through diet.  He was now pooping as much as I would expect an elephant to poop so we decided he had to become an outside pet.   As he grew it became obvious that Gammy would not get better.   He constantly falls on his back and can't flip himself back over.  He just lies there and waits for us to come and turn him over.  He seems comfortably resigned to this way of life and, in fact, will just turn his head and continue eating if he falls down.  I began to despair!  Why had we saved him?  We should have just left him in the shed to let nature take it's course.  It's not practical to keep a gammy goose and he is getting bigger every day.  I was worried that if we left him for any period of time, he would fall on his back and dehydrate in the hot, summer sun.
With a heavy heart I rang our lovely vet to tell her the time had come.  She was well aware how attached Belle (ahem, not me of course) had become so she organised xrays.  Gammy's hip joint never formed properly so his left leg is loose.  Her advice was invaluable.  She gave us some tips for managing him.  As he grows he may learn to balance better aided by his developing wings.  She can see that he is perfectly happy so just suggested that we have a nice safe cage in the shade that we'll pop him into if we need to go out for any length of time. Of course!  So simple!  We are using padding in the box he sleeps in so that he is comfortable if he falls during the night.  We carry him in at night and take him outside during the day. 

He has made friends with our female duck and she wanders over if he sounds distressed and stays with him until we get there to roll him over.
So now we continue life with our gammy goose and all is good for now.  And as though like isn't busy enough......  Belle finally has the silky bantam that she has been saving for!  She wasn't allowed a pet unless it was useful.  There are too many animals around here for frivolousness so this one is a pet for her and a future broody hen for us.
 Is life under control at your place?


Ali M said...

that is a beautiful story!

purplepear said...

So Glad that you are able to keep him alive. So interesting that he will compensate for his gammy leg once his wings develop. So happy for you both that he'll be Ok.

Linda said...

Thanks Ali, It's pretty easy to fall in love with goslings!

Kate we're not out of the woods yet. We need to just see how he goes when his wings develop. If his life doesn't seem happy we'll need to re-assess. But all is good at the moment. I'm lucky to have such a lovely vet!

Krista said...

Your story of Gammy is so much like one with one of our ducks. :-) The poor duck couldn't walk either, just rolled himself wherever he needed to go. He was like that for weeks and we were just about to put him out of his misery when one day, overnight, he righted himself and has been walking beautifully ever since. I wish your Gammy strength to endure as long as he's able. :-)

Busy mum of 3 said...

What a lovely story!
I'm sure I'd keep him too, especially after everything you have been through with him.

JohnandJean said...

At HHF everything is always under control. A dog isn't on the bed, there are not any dogs on the bedroom floor impeding movement, the cat isn't leaping from one side of the bed to other at 5 am demanding breakfast and whinging Warren isn't bellowing for his morning hay from first light onwards. But you could imagine the place if things ever get out of control.

Frivolousness is fine.

Jodie said...

Thanks for sharing a lovely story. Since I have been a child of your daughters age I have been such a sucker for sick/injured/orphans strays etc. Nature (ie the reaction of his parents) is tough! Lucky for him he has your daughter. Hope he can go on and live a happy life. If he doesn't make it- that's also lesson in life too (no matter how hard or sad that is)