You’ve heard about Babe the pig, now meet the real life Flo the goose who wants to be a cattle dog.
Flo has become a Facebook sensation after a photo of her cow-herding antics was posted by Legendairy, the communications initiative to raise the profile and reputation of the dairy industry.
Owner Ingrid Jennings from Bruthen near Bairnsdale in Gippsland says Flo is “pretty amazing”.
The goose has lived on the Jennings farm since 2015 and just decided to join kelpie Bella in herding the cows on a daily basis.
“All of a sudden she’s decided she wants to be a cattle dog,” Ingrid said.
“She buddied up with Bella, much to the kelpie’s disgust, and if Bella is doing anything with the cows the goose will come out with her wings in full flight. She just decided she was going to do dog stuff, particularly move the cows. She’s a bit bossy and wants to be involved in everything.”
Flo is also proving a goose’s honk can be as effective as a dog’s bark. “If Bella is barking she honks louder and louder,” Ingrid said. “It’s like she knows that’s what you’re meant to be doing.”
The Jennings farm has previously had ducks but only became home to two geese when a friend was no longer able to care for them. One of the geese went missing but Flo is making her mark.
“The cows seem to think it’s the weirdest thing ever,” Ingrid said. “The heifers were being pregnancy tested and it was the first time they’d had contact with the goose. They did exactly what we wanted because they wanted to get as far away as possible.
“We’ll be milking and look up and the goose is coming down the hill after the cows. She’s good in that regard because she makes them move,” Ingrid said. “I don’t know how it doesn’t get tired it runs around that much.”
In any case, Flo is ruling the roost. “What can we do? You can tell a dog to get out of it but you can’t tell a goose to go away. You’ve just got to let it do its thing.”
The only naysayer is Bella who isn’t all that impressed with Flo hijacking her herd.
The farm is owned by Ingrid’s parents Peter Jennings and Sue Croton and milks about 300 mainly Friesian cows. Ingrid works on weekends and her partner Adam also works on the farm.
With nearly 1000 likes and 333 shares, Flo also inspired other farmers to share their stories with Legendairy on Facebook about unusual helpers around the farm, including a goat, pig, lamb, cats and three-legged dogs who lead the cows to and from milking.
This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.