Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Sexing Camilla

My profession (aka. Paid job) is as a wildlife ecologist,so I can finally offer you some professional advice John! Since Canada geese are not sexually dimorphic (they have the same plumage), in order to tell the sex of the bird you have to get up close and personal with them. This entails grabbing the goose, putting it on its back between your legs on the ground with the head tucked under your body and pressing hard with your thumbs on either side of the vent/cloacal opening. If it is a gander, a corkscrew shaped appendage will pop out. If not, you have a female. On goose banding days we do hundreds of them at a go. We also do bag checks of duck hunters and it is much easier sexing a dead goose than a live one!

So said the delightful Sherry from Spinners End Farm and this morning I took her advice, grabbed Camilla/ Charles ( delete when appropriate) when I let the animals out of their houses and in one swift movement popped the goose on his back and straddled him.
Everything was going swimmingly, even though Camilla was honking like an express train, and I was just about to flex the old thumbs around the aforementioned cloacal opening when all hell let loose.

I had just had time to turn my head to the right when I was hit in the face by a flurry of claws, beak and red feathers.
No doubt spurred on by Camilla's distress calls, Eric the diminutive cockerel had suddenly decided to go all super hero and batter the shit out of me, and luckily for him I was in an ideal position ( with my hands busy) not to be able to defend myself.
Eric got several more karate chops in before I made a run for it.
Camilla remains unsexed
And I got my arse well and truly kicked by a six inch high cockerel

Eric wounds...I need a hot sweet tea
Eric is the one on the left with the killer expression

124 comments:

  1. Oh, I am sorry John, but this is one of your best ever posts!

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    1. Thank f*ck it was only Eric that attacked

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  2. While I dislike the term, oh my god. Talk about the walking wounded. Note to self, in the unlikely event I have to sex a goose, make sure there are no other geese around.

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    1. I wouldn't have minded if one of the other geese had attacked me.. But it was a bloody six inch rooster!

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    2. Sometimes I miss the nuances of detail.

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  3. Oh no, John. Imagine a little cockerel coming to a goose' defense? What a delightful story! I'm sorry for your wounds but you provided me with the best laugh to date! Greetings from a mirth-cackling Jo

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  4. Hahahaha! Sorry, but that is hilarious :-D

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  5. Oh no - the thing with this story is - there can never be the short story version - each and everytime you tell this in the future - you have to explain from start to finish - bc it doesn't sound right if you simply say - " yeah like that one time i got beaten up by a cock" just doesn't sound right.

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  6. I know what you mean John. Once put a lasso round a so called sickly looking heifer and she dragged me through rushes, cow pats and up and down the fields. I have also had a few kicks and my ribs cracked. Not forgetting a Glasgow kiss carrying a bull calf. Glad you can see the funny side of it. God bless all the smallholders.

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    1. I suppose at least my animals can't trample me to death..so I should thank goodness

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  7. Ouch. Eric was obviously sucessfully punching well above his weight today. I like his altruistic and protective style though - probably because I wasn't on the painful receiving end.

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  8. At least you know Eric's on the ball when danger threatens the flock!

    Reading through Sherry's advice, I'm wondering why anyone would want to find the sex of a dead goose? Do you know?

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    1. Good question! Mostly to get a sex and age ratio as a sample of the population during hunting season. It also gives us an opportunity to see which different races of Canada geese are being taken proportionally, as some of them are rarer than others and hunting season dates may need adjustment to better protect those races. With most other waterfowl you can tell males from females because of their plumage and if they are juveniles based on the development of their plumage.....but not geese.

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    2. How about sexing a dead rooster?

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  9. It's usually the smallest ones in the group that prove to be the most trouble. At least that's been my experience. Especially if you're messing with their friend.

    Perhaps a more covert base of inspection is called for. ;)

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    1. At night perhaps with a single torch?

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    2. Possible, but you'd have to take into account that while Eric may be locked up, the distressed honking of a goose may invite creatures of more formidable tooth and claw. I recommend a shed, with a door that closes. ;)

      And/or someone who is an expert in the fine art of broom bushido to watch your back.

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  10. So sorry, that must have been a big surprise, but I couldn't resist laughing. Hard not to say 'Go Eric' because he is an amazingly brave little bugger. Imagine having the courage to take on someone your size.? He obviously takes his self imposed responsibilities very seriously.

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    1. Too much testosterone for such a small body me thinks

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  11. You're jolly lucky he didn't have your eye out!

    Still, the article was very useful. I now know I have a gander.

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  12. When I saw the photo of you on my feedreader I thought "Oh dear god what have you been up to now"

    Then I read. And spat tea all over the keyboard.

    I am sorry for your injuries ( nasty looking!) but that was so funny!

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    1. They look worse than they are

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    2. Make that two of us with wet keyboards. So sorry for your injuries but what a story!

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  13. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny.
    That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny.
    That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny.
    That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny.
    No, really that is funny. Sorry. Must have hurt.

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  14. Oh dear......I'm so sorry! In my defense I've never sexed a goose in front of a cockerel before (this sounds so sordid); the other geese just run away hoping they aren't next! I will be sure to note to other wildlife professionals that if working with geese around cockerels a hockey mask might be helpful. We could even write a journal article for the Wildlife Society John! XO-Sherry

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  15. I know the pain of a cockerel attack, Caldwell our Bantam cockerel goes for me everyday (the ungrateful little wretch I saved his life only a few weeks ago), usually I am defended by Harold the big Light Sussex cockerel who comes to my rescue and chases off my attacker, but never has he managed to reach my face, it's all around my legs at his height where I bear the scars of attack.

    I can imagine just how painful your face is at the moment, you poor thing ...... but thanks for giving us all a good laugh :-)

    You can dine out on this one for ages, attacked by a six inch cock while playing with a Gooses private bits!!

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    1. The RSPCA will be on my case me thinks x

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  16. Your Ego has now totally been destroyed by Eric. How awful for me to laugh, but you do understand, do you not? xx

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    Replies
    1. Laugh away.....I did......eventually

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  17. Stick to jousting, John and preserve your natural good looks :=D

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  18. Hey I bet that never happened to Prince Charles!

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  19. Jeez John... you need to start keeping safer animals. Tigers spring to mind.

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  20. Ouch - that looks painful. Eric certainly seems to be a bird with huge attitude.

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  21. Holy c* John...the little blighter could have ripped your eyes out. Still..what a lovely little man to come to his friends aid.

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  22. The injuries just add to your rugged good lucks,Daisy

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  23. Poor man...that looks painful...but what would you do if someone put you in that exact position? Only in my mind's eye....bahaaaw!

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  24. Eric might have thought he was next.

    Absolutely your best barnyard story!

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    1. I wouldn't mind but I have been applying soothing Vaseline to his bum all week before this

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    2. Maybe that's just why. Eric had to do something to get his dignity back.

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  25. Wow. Your opening picture has quite an effect. Those hens seemed to be staring right at me and ready to jump right out of the screen. Nice effect.

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  26. I'm sorry...no I really am (splutter,splutter).
    Jane x

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  27. It appears that Camilla's ladyparts are to forever remain a mystery...or is it the manlybits of Charles that are the mystery?

    I suppose we need to ask Eric. He must have some idea of what he was defending. And what did C/C do after this prying about? Just get up, yawn, and walk away?

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    1. She has joined Theother geese......must have been the shock

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  28. yikes! just tell everyone you were attacked by zombies

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  29. hahaha...if you want a real experience, try to clean teddy's no fly zone!

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  30. Blimey! And you've spent the last week putting remedial vaseline on his ungrateful little arse!
    Did you forget to warm your hands?

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  31. This will go down in history as The Battle of Trelawnyd. In future stick to my method!

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  32. Only a lot of Scotch eggs will get your over that experience...
    hey ho

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  33. Hmmm - I'm thinking Eric has a touch of the 'small man syndrome' going on. Hope you heal well - try some Chickweed ointment on those scratches - helps with the irritation caused by shallow cuts and helps the scarring too.

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  34. So will you be having another go then?
    x

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  35. Oh my god John I just shrieked out when I saw your face and frit the dog!! Bless him for being a chivalrous bugger but ouch for you having to suffer. I've just been and had my 8th tattoo done so I shall sympathise in pain :o)

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  36. Maybe you should have tried that in the kitchen with the doors shut... what's a little goose slurry?

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  37. oh John...I need an adjective to describe this situation but for right now I'm just bowled over (actually laughing my posterior off till I saw the photo of your poor face)...one of my first thoughts was...what is Chris going to say?!!

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    1. He will just shake his head slowly and sayit was all my fault

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    2. I hope I don't get banned from the blog......eeks

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  38. I'd stay away from those 'parts'. You look like you were attacked by a clowder of cats. Deb

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  39. My classroom of students is in gales of laughter. Sorry, but I read your blog to them (leaving out the sex bits) every day and they are enamoured.

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    1. Oh dear........I am flattered and worried all at the same time....my language can be so choice at times x

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  40. Holy Cow!!!

    Now the funny thing is I wonder how many very odd people out there will hit your blog now given this posts title and then they'll see that picture of you... I can't imagine what will be going through their minds!!! :-)

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    1. Bloody hell..I never thought of that!

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  41. That will teach you to go messing about with cloacals, especially when there are Superheroes close by.
    ~Jo

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    Replies
    1. I will never touch another bird's nether regions ever again!

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    2. I meant to add, I'm sorry you were hurt in the process, can't have that lovely face of yours scarred up.
      ~Jo

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  42. Ouch! You deserve something stronger than tea, and a scotch egg.

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  43. Little Eric is a badass! LOL!!!!

    Sorry John, I couldn't help laughing. Hope your injuries heal quickly.

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  44. I bet your stats have gone through the roof John!

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  45. Right come on...on the draining board....where`s the dish cloth?

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  46. I have a feeling that in that last photograph those two are discussing it in detail. I also think they may well be questioning your motives here John - after all it is perhaps very easy to sex a goose if you are a cockerel, so they may have been wondering exactly what you were doing! Why not just call her Charmilla and wait and see if an egg appears?

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  47. That title and that crazed grin on your mug? Well I will tell you I laughed so hard I nearly pissed myself. Guess I should have added in my comment yesterday that sexing Chucky should be done in privacy so as not to upset the rest of the yard. But then we would never have had such a great post out of you my friend.

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  48. When Poultry Attack!
    Crazed geese! The Bantam of Death!
    See all the gory details tonight at 10 on Welsh Farm News Daily!

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  49. I thought you were going to tell us you got a faceful of goose shit, but this is even better! I had my parrot sexed with a blood test--and now I'm glad that I chose that option!

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  50. I knew when I saw your title that this was going to be one of your most memorable posts. I wonder if Eric has been waiting for such an opportunity and once he saw you bent over with your hands otherwise engaged, he unleashed his built up fury for all indignities he has suffered in the past. Maybe he thought he was next?

    I'm sorry but that is so funny, John. I hope your battle scars heal quickly. Thanks for making this dull grey day in Michigan a lot brighter,
    Joan

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  51. OK. I know your love of The Walking Dead but is going a bit far !
    Since Camilla/Charles has been hanging out with Eric and his flock he was just being protective. Or he knows he is a she and likes tall ladies ?
    Or pay back for all the times you have scooped him up and cleaned his bottom ?
    Laughed so hard this morning ! Another chapter in you book about the scotched eggs.

    cheers, parsnip

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  52. Absolutely your best post ever! Heroic ballads have been written about less interesting altercations! Hope the war wounds heal quickly, John.

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  53. Holy crap, John. And you can't say "You shoulda seen the other fellow!"

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  54. Sorry, John, but I laughed so hard *I* almost laid an egg!

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  55. Explain that face at work..."Well, I was diddling a goose and then I was attacked by a cock."

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  56. Eric the Barbarian - the Canadian Years: in this episode Eric travels to the frozen wastes of Canada to save a fair maiden (?) from a fate worse than death. Will his finely honed martial arts be enough to defeat the evil Wizard of Bosoms.....

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    1. I can feel a film franchise coming on ....well done Mz witch...that made me larf

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  57. Oh, poor John! And I thought sexing hamsters (my daughter had several when she was young) was a tough job!!! You'll just have to be careful to check if any cocks are about the next time you attempt to violate a goose.

    Nancy, chuckling in Iowa

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  58. I just found this article in my spare reading about the importance of funding research of duck genetalia as reproduction is "where the rubber meets the road", species wise.


    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/04/duck_penis_controversy_nsf_is_right_to_fund_basic_research_that_conservatives.html?wpisrc=obinsite

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  59. Oh, gallant little Eric! This is your best post ever, John. I laughed so hard I spilled my coffee. Still laughing...!

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  60. One hopes Eric would be as effective if an actual predator your size came along ... Or maybe he just had a different interpretation from you of your TLC on his bottom and saw a chance for revenge :)

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  61. Presumably their sex is unimportant if revenge cooking for Christmas dinner? x

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  62. Typing despite the blur of tears from laughter, I have pictured the entire thing in my mind and even though I feel bad you got hurt, that is (hands down) one of the funniest things I've heard in a long, long while. Does it seem odd that I knew what you were doing when I saw the pictures of your face before even reading the explanation? From across the big pond, I knew you were chomping at the bit to sex that goose after you got instructions?
    Maybe your little rooster is feeling violated by all the rubbing on his chapped arse......maybe.
    Why can't I stop laughing?

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  63. Ouch that was painful just reading about it.

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  64. Crikey, that's so funny...you should get danger money for jobs like that....sorry, but I can hardly stop laughing and the dog is looking at me in a very funny way......

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  65. Is Eric perhaps a Nac MacFeegle? His aggression to body size ration certainly is in line with that wonderful race!
    Ouchy, heal well! xo

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  66. Six inches? Well, they always say that size doesn't count.

    I'm glad, though, that you survived. The field population could have gotten the better of you and all that would have been left would have been a woolen hat.

    It proves that Sorrel is the smart one, deciding to stay away from all things feathered!

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  67. Not that I don't feel your pain but I did laugh out loud at that. I think for our amusement you should try again in the morning. Only this time where a mask!

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  68. I have to ask - why did you have to look? Could you not just leave it alone?

    i used to like the idea of chickens and now I think they are scary as hell. One of my friends recently said she wanted them, I began to tell her how scary they are and what they can get up to, it was hard to described your blog, but you may well have another reader.

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    Replies
    1. I just HAD TO TRY AND FIND OUT....it's the Everest principle

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  69. Hi John, I think Eric was just trying to impress the competition, those other cockerels. I can just see him prancing around the other cockerels in the second photo. Sorry my friend, I just couldn't stop laughing.

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  70. Oh 'owie' and 'ouchie' and 'damn'! that looks painful John (thankfully missing your eyes).

    I know it's wicked to think funny things about the event (considering your injuries) but I just can't help thinking "next time you want to know male/female just leave a poll form with a pencil and let the bird check (or peck?!) the appropriate box"

    Ok, I'll stop being an arse now :-)

    Jokes aside hope all heals up well and soon

    Issy

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  71. Can you imagine the talk at work, when you show up for your shift. Your going to have to tell this story at least a hundred times.

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  72. Hope you've had all your shots!!

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  73. Eric is happy that I have

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  74. I cannot believe I have had so many comments..... You must all love the fact I was injured
    Xxx
    Tee hee
    Hey ho

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    Replies
    1. :)
      or maybe why you were injured!!??

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    2. :)
      or maybe why you were injured!!??

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  75. I loved the image of it all. It literally 'made my day'.

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  76. Thank you for the laugh! Sorry you were hurt for our giggles.

    Maybe that rooster bonded with you after the good bottom rubbings earlier and was jealous that you moved on?

    I was going to suggest that if you have had that goose for more than a year and there are no eggs then it is a good chance you have a male. Seems much easier than the alternative.

    ~Sue

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  77. HOLY CRAP JOHN!!! Can you not leave well enough alone? It look like you put you head in a large bowl & had a go at it with the immersion blender. Isn't Eric the same Eric who arse you have been diligently cleaning & applying soothing save to for over a week now? What an unappreciative patient he turned out to be. Can't a rooster be made into a capon?
    Imagine the consequence if Eric is an infected Walker chicken. You would have turned and greeted Chris tonight by yanking his intestine out and feasting on his innards (Sorrel has returned home, has she not?). That CDC doctor did tell Rick that EVERYONE was infected. Maybe chickens have such small brains that they take a long time to you to die and have your brainstem reignite. You may want to get a neighbor to restrain you just in case the awfulness of this situation has not peaked yet.
    Please post a photo of yourself tomorrow. By then the inflammatory process will have set-in and your head should have doubled in size & bruising will be readily apparent. You might consider putting your story on a tape recorder, because after a day of people asking you what happened to you, you will tire of re-telling the story - even one as entertaining as this.
    Thanks for telling us what happen to you & causing me to blow coffee out through my nose when I saw your picture. Haven't done that since I was 12, but it cleared me of my allergies all day.

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  78. Oh my gosh, John. *hugs* ♥

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  79. Mostly this left me speechless as I started laughing....and even more as I read each and every comment. Seriously, someone commenting on here has sexed hamsters?! My life is so boring!

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  80. Oh my, I have missed you, John. I come back to the blogospere after after a couple of weeks and you have been cocked for for checking a goose's private bits. I'd like to say I didn't laugh, but I can't. (Sorry about the ouchy face.)

    Got to go and catch up....

    Janet

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  81. I understand it's possible to sex chicks in the egg. Sounds a lot less dangerous. Perhaps an option next time?
    Perhaps it's BECAUSE of the draining board activities... I'd harbour resentment too.

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  82. Crikey you are lucky you didn't lose an eye....

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  83. OMG. James Herriot has nothing on you. Rotfl.

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  84. Best laugh I've had in ages. Sorry that you are injured though. :o)

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  85. I don't think any of us wanted to see you hurt, it's just the circumstances were just so funny.

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  86. OMG, I know I shouldn't laugh. If it were me I think I'd forget trying to sex Camilla. Seriously though, you are so lucky Eric missed your eyes.

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  87. OUCH! - GOOD GRIEF JOHN!

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  88. Sitting in the café today I told someone innocently that you had been bitten by the cock to which she relied " where...on the top of his thigh?" Must think what words I use before I relay your life to others!

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  89. I awoke this a.m. with an eye allergy to my mascara but when reading this I laughed so hard the tears washed the eye inflammation clear. Thankyou. Geese mate for life so maybe "Camilla" has convinced Eric to be her paramour hence the protective attack. That bantam has
    little man's' disease, lol. Next stop for Eric could be the stew pot or underground cock fighting pit. Sorry for laughing but thnx for my daily chuckle. Take care of your wounds.

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  90. Ah, I love a man with rooster wounds on his face.

    Seriously, OUCH!!! Have you been attacked by the roosters before?!! I hope you're getting some TLC.

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  91. The name Eric means "Every Kingly" or "Eternal Ruler" and sadly, you found that out the hard way.
    Hope you feel better. The little bastard.

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    Replies
    1. Loved that comment Mz fifi

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