I run an ecotherapy center in Brooksville, Florida. We have many different kinds of animals on our 10 acres. Most of our animals all get along with each other, but not on this day....
So two of our male geese, big white Chinese cresteds, attacked and tore apart a small black chicken yesterday while my husband David watched, aghast. Aside from the racial implications, the sociological problem of geese, ducks, and chickens living together was in our face. Again. A year ago, we had to execute a male duck after he repeatedly sexually assaulted all the other ducks, even the males.
We pondered the situtation- should our scarce resources go to build a whole new pen for the rapist duck, isolating him from the other ducks, allowing him to live out his sinful life in jail? Or should we summarily take away his life? Clearly, it was no longer in the hands of natural selection, or God, since we as humans have interfered with the natural process already, first by domesticating these animals and then by forcing them to live in territories that they did not choose, with companions they would never have lived with in the wild.
So were we, David and Ali, now responsible for the rapist duck and the killer geese? We did wind up killing the duck. Humanely. ( we didn't put him in a pit with lions or anything). I have his skull in the nature center. Of course I did not label it "executed rapist duck" for the sake of the children, but I think about that decision every time someone sees that duck skull, or asks about it. I still am not comfortable with our decision, but I guess there are many decisions that we, as benevolent dictators of the farm, must make regarding the lives of our animals. "For the sake of many, should one die?" is a question that I'm sure has plagued farm philosophers since the dawn of agriculture.
So what to do with the killer geese? They had other strikes against them, but no kills to their records. They were loud, obnoxious, smelly, and now dangerous to the other animals.
They had to go. So we killed them. It was easier this time than killing the duck, too. Now all the other male geese are behaving wonderfully- was the sight of the two dead geese a deterrent, or are we anthropomorphizing a tad?
I think we won't be hatching any more geese. Yes, they're cute when they are goslings, but jeez.... those crazy teenagers....