Stroppy geese foil intruder

By Christine McKay

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A gaggle of stroppy geese foiled a would-be burglar in Norsewood - and it's not the first time they've seen an intruder off their patch.

The geese, owned by small-holder farmer and author Lyn McConchie, are well known for their guard-dog abilities.

When someone tried to enter Ms McConchie's property at around 4.30am recently, Stroppy (because he is), Junior, Senior and Sisters 1 and 2 were waiting.

"I think the intruder came in through a neighbour's gate and over my fence, but didn't reckon on the geese. When all hell broke loose I shot out of bed, hurtled through the house and peered around the water tank to see what was going on," Ms McConchie said.

"Geese are better than watch dogs. You don't have to register them and if they attack someone you can't be done for it because you're not expected to be able to have control of them.

"Of course, the big advantage with geese is that they just don't shut up, even if you toss them some food. They'll just go gobble, gobble, scream, scream and that screaming could rattle even the most determined intruder."

This is the third time the Farside Farm geese have sent an intruder packing, Ms McConchie said.

"I think this time whoever it was climbed over my fence and stepped right in amongst the gaggle. Apart from the fact that the average gander is a raving lunatic, my Stroppy is devoted to his goslings and Senior, his wife.

"Stroppy would have gone for the intruder who may not even have seen him. It would just be a case of a beak coming out of the dark, grabbing, pinching and twisting."

However, Ms McConchie said she was unable to see who was at the centre of the commotion.

"I hid behind the water tank, heard a car door close and saw a car with its side lights on move off down the road. I didn't get a look at anyone."

Ms McConchie said a number of Scottish distillers have gaggles of between 30 and 50 protecting the premises.

A posse of geese will see off intruders quick smart, and Ms McConchie said she'd recommend them to anyone with property to protect.

"My geese come when I call, so can be herded where I need them. You can't intimidate them, they'll only yell louder and you can't shut them up by feeding them either.

"My lot have a three-level warning scream and at night, if they're on intruder alert, they sound like nothing else on earth. They defend their territory ferociously."

Ms McConchie has had guard geese for 20 years and the current guardians of Farside Farm are the third and fourth generation.

A sebastopol/barnyard mixed breed, they have one big advantage - they can't fly - but they try.

"Their body weight is too heavy in proportion to their wings, but they'll sometimes give flying a go, taking a run-up into a gusty wind," she said. "They just end up crashing landing, but keep on trying."

Lyn McConchie has written a range of reading material from science fiction/fantasy to picture books for children, a non-fiction humour series, stand alone books and many short stories, articles, poetry and opinion pieces.

She penned the recent works Field Daze, Summer of Dreaming, The Questing Road, Rural Daze and South of Rio Chama.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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