Gosling finds new foster mum

THESE fluffy fellows are a great joy to their protective mum - even though they may look a little different to her.Chicken Supreme - she's the star of her hen family at Levington - hatched the youngsters, named Lucy and Jim, and has fed them, loved them, brought them up, and guards them with her life.

THESE fluffy fellows are a great joy to their protective mum - even though they may look a little different to her.

Chicken Supreme - she's the star of her hen family at Levington - hatched the youngsters, named Lucy and Jim, and has fed them, loved them, brought them up, and guards them with her life.

But the pair of youngsters are not what she thinks they are and are already catching up fast to mum and will soon be towering over her.

For Lucy and Jim are not chickens, but goslings - and will grow into great big geese before long.

Supreme's owner Theresa Salmon put three abandoned goose eggs under the broody bantam to see whether they would hatch.

“My father-in-law found the eggs and brought them round and as Supreme was being all broody we thought we would see what happened,” she said.

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“Two of the three eggs hatched - the third was not fertile - and these beautiful goslings popped out.

“Now they are in a right muddle though because Supreme truly believes these are her children and, of course, she really doesn't know any different.

“It's been quite sweet. She fed them when they were very tiny although they became self-sufficient very quickly.

“She stands guard over them, too, and is very protective - even though they are now almost as big as she is!

“The goslings, too, believe they are chickens and when we call all the chickens at feeding time they are coming running together.

“It's been quite surprising but then nature is a wonderful thing and it I has probably happened many times before.”

Mrs Salmon - who named Lucy and Jim after two friends - said she didn't know what type of geese the goslings were and is waiting to see how they turn out.

“It's quite exciting really. They make lovely pets and we are told they will make us really good guard dogs, too, when they are grown,” said Mrs Salmon, of Dunhill Cottages, Church Lane.

It's not the first time her chickens have hit the headlines.

Two years ago her hen Tikka Masala provided a cracking breakfast treat after laying a giant egg.

The egg produced by the chicken, one of more than a dozen she owns, a mixture of Rhode Island Reds Bantams and Black Rocks, proved to be a double yolker.

Have you got an unusual animal story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Goosey goosey gander

Experts say most breeds of both goslings and ducklings can be successfully reared by broody chicken hens - even if they were not hatched by the hen the birds will often look after the young if they are placed by them shortly after birth.

Geese found in Britain are divided into two main groups - the “grey” geese, including the greylag, and the “black” geese, such as brent and barnacle.

One of the most widespread, the Canada goose, is not native, but introduced to the UK from North America.

Canada geese live here all year round - they are large with a distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch, and there are reckoned to be 80,000 pairs in the UK.

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