When a grieving gander lost his lifelong partner, he wandered off with a ewe who believes she’s a dog. The goose has now shunned the sheep after finding love again, this time with his own species. Helen Russell reports.
THE unlikely ‘ewe’nion of fleece and feathers began after the death of Hissing Sid’s female companion last autumn.
His owner, Christene (CORR) Allison, of Booze Wood, in Baldersdale, County Durham, said the 25-year-old gander seemed unaffected by his mate’s death at first.
But as breeding season approached, he attached himself to a ewe called Kitty, who Mrs Allison describes as “not quite convinced she is a sheep” after being hand-reared due to her small birth weight.
The sheep, who was bottle fed as a lamb, spent many of her early days running around with the Allison’s pet terriers before being released into the field at six-months-old.
Hissing Sid, who is named after Sex Pistols star Sid Vicious, and the hissing noise the gander makes at strangers, started spending his daylight hours with Kitty out in the fields before returning to the barn at night.
Mrs Allison said: “As Hissing Sid’s mate became increasingly frail, he sat with her in the barn.
“He stayed by her side for the last few weeks of her life.
“After she died, he seemed okay for a bit and went off with the hens.
“But when mating season came round he started going off with a flock of sheep and stuck particularly close to Kitty.
“She was always with him.
“He would go right away down the fields, quite a distance away, then come up with the sheep to be fed.
“He came back to the barn at night but was straight back down to join the sheep at first light.”
Mrs Allison’s advert for a new mate for her lonely gander was answered last week and two-year-old goose, Cynthia, arrived at the farm on Friday.
She said: “Sid was thrilled to bits to see her.
“They are getting on absolutely fine. He is escorting her round the estate and showing her how to behave.
“He ushered her away from pecking the dog and she shouts if he goes out of her sight.
“He was always shouting at wild geese flying over so I am pleased he has got his own woman now.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Allison said Hissing Sid’s old flame Kitty seemed disinterested at losing her unlikely follower.
She said: “Kitty is always slightly to the side of the flock but she is quite happy now with the other sheep.”