I had been amused (how tired am I, I wondered, when I can’t count?) to realize that my goose Kay had hatched not eight goslings but ten. Seven boys and three girls. I had kept them indoors for a week to let them find their bearings before turning them outside.
Last night I moved them from the lamb stall to the big sheep stall, the first step toward the great outdoors. The ten babies were so cute, crowding around their food dish. I thought of taking a photo but it was too dark in the barn.
This morning I was horrified to discover four goslings were dead. I had put the shallow food and water dishes out for the babies and in a far corner I’d tied a one-gallon water pail for the adult geese. Somehow four goslings had jumped into this small pail and drowned.
I have had babies drown before. Newly-feathered chicks and turkey poults in their early hopping flights flutter up and land in a horse’s five-gallon water bucket and can’t get out. But these downy babies … in a small one-gallon pail … goslings, that can swim… and four of them. I tried to picture the scenario and could not. The only thing I knew for sure was that Andy, my gander, would have been shrieking and beside himself at the sound of their frightened peeping. This morning as I pulled up the pail of dead goslings he leapt at my face.
I buried the goslings (2 boys, 2 girls) in the manure pile. It is hard to forgive myself when I make a mistake like this. I am heartsick.