Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day Ten Of Nitpicking The Twelve Days Of Christmas


What on Earth can I do to talk about geese that wouldn't already have been done before?  I could make a lot of references to Goose in Top Gun, but there's really only so much you can do with Anthony Edwards.  I could discuss goose down and compare it to other means of crafting pillows, but, well, the bit I've read so far just isn't really that interesting.

I guess I can go the completely nerdy route.  Let's talk about one of the best video game bosses of all time:  Geese Howard.

Geese Howard is amazing.  First off, he's a villain whose story connects to the primary hero's storyline, something many video game tournament fighters tend to forget about these days.  Having killed the lead character's father, we had (as one person I know put it) "the count to Terry Bogard's Inigo Montoya."

My personal favorite part was that Geese used akido.  It's one of the (if not the) most defensive martial arts in the world, so you have the big bad boss of the video game whose entire combat routine is based around "no, you try to hit me and see what happens."  He was built to be ridiculously good at countering attacks players would throw at him, and would casually stop you in the middle of an attack, pick you up, and throw you across the screen with ease.

In a game series where story is pretty much "let's throw a whole bunch of characters at a wall and see which ones stick" he's managed to maintain a healthy presence in video games from SNK for almost two decades now.  Multiple games review sites have counted him as one of the "hardest bosses to beat" in a fighting game, and those weren't stated in the past, it's a reputation that continues to this day.

So, that pretty much covers our geese a layin' suckas d-

Hold on.  There's something else we can discuss.

You're not giving someone these geese for them to keep as pets or eat.  You're giving them for the eggs.

Let's talk goose eggs.

Chickens laid 95.2 billion eggs in 2013, according to some figures from the USDA.

People don't eat very many goose eggs.  They may be larger than chicken eggs (weight wise, a goose egg is equal to four chicken eggs approximately), but I've read a lot of "for" and "against" opinions of their flavor.  Goose eggs tend to be described as "drier" than chicken eggs when scrambled or hard boiled, as well as "dense" or "sticky."  Keep in mind the yolk from one goose egg can sometimes be the size of a chicken egg, and you can understand why it might take some different tactics to successfully hard boil a goose egg.

Goose eggs are high in B12, though I think eating four or five chicken eggs would equate to about the same.  Chicken eggs are healthier in they have less fat, fewer calories, and much lower cholesterol, but goose eggs are significantly higher in vitamin B12, fatty acids (you know, those things doctors are telling you to get more of all the time), and other vitamins.

But the thing I found the most interesting about goose eggs is "goose egg addling."  See, Canadian geese are a quote-unquote "problem" across the United States.  They cluster around urban areas, they like to hang out near airports, and they tend to leave rather big messes.  In an attempt to put into place more humane practices than "send some guys out to shoot them all," a different tactic is to attempt to control the population through "addling."

Plus, it's against the law to shoot Canadian geese unless you get a specific permit from the U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, as they're covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Addling isn't easy, though.  Fertilized goose eggs are taken from the nest, and the development of the embryo is scanned.  If the embryo hasn't developed too far, the development is halted (a suggested technique is to coat the egg in corn oil, depriving it of oxygen), and the egg is placed back.  If the egg looks different, smells different, or feels different, the geese might be aware something has happened to the egg and consider it a lost cause.  If this happens (or if the eggs were simply taken away), the female geese would be able to simply start laying eggs again.

If the geese don't detect a difference, they'll continue trying to incubate the egg until figuring "well, sometimes it just doesn't happen" and move on.  It might sound cruel, but considering it's one of the means suggested by the Humane Society to control geese, it's more humane than a lot of other ways people take care of geese.

Oh, and you probably want to be careful when you're trying to take the eggs.  Much like swans, geese can be total jerks.  Especially ones who studied akido under video game bosses.

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