The Twelve Days of Christmas-Day 6 – Six Geese-a-Laying

The Sixth Day of Christmas – Six Geese -a-Laying

We are half way through The Twelve Days of Christmas , so I hope you are ready to discover something about the gift given on The Sixth Day of Christmas

Verse six says:

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

Six Geese-a-laying,

Five gold rings,

Four colly birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves ,

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Geese are fascinating and intelligent birds as you will see in the Video below.

The word “goose (pleural: geese) is the English word for a group of waterbirds, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes Swans, which are larger than true geese and Ducks which are smaller.

A number of other waterbirds, which are mainly Southern hemisphere  birds, have the word “goose” as part of their name but they belong to the subfamily TadorninaeEven though they are waterfowl, geese spend most of their day on land foraging for food, which is primarily obtained by grazing.

A baby goose is called a “gosling”, while a group of geese is called a “gaggle”. 

Geese are migratory birds which have been known to fly up to 3000 miles (4,800 kilometers), Geese have a well developed instinct to return to their birthplace to mate and build their nests. They will return to the exact site or a nearby expanse of water.

Have you seen the film “Fly Away Home” ?


It tells the story of Amy, an unhappy young woman who goes to live with her estranged father. She find some abandoned goose eggs, which she places in an incubator. She becomes a surrogate mother to a number of goslings.

The film has an exciting but “heart-strings ” tugging ending. I would recommend that you watch the film.

Geese choose a mate when they about three years old. They normally remain monogamous and mate for life. If one mate should die, the survivor will often wait years before choosing another mate. Many times they remain single for the remainder of their lives.

 The female will build a nest and line it with down plucked from her own body. She lays one egg per day until she has laid five. She sits on her nest for 28-30 days to incubate her eggs. When she need to leave her nest the female goose will cover the nest with sticks to keep the eggs warm and to camouflage the nest. The male goose will stand nearby to guard the nest. After hatching the mother goose will lead her goslings to water within 24 hours of birth.

Goslings are able to fly when they are 2-3 months old.

A friend sent me a copy of the video below a few years ago. As it says there are many valuable lessons we can learn from the life and behaviour of Geese.

Although many sources attribute this piece of prose to “ANON” , its authorship has been extensively researched by Sue Widermark, who states that;”Lessons from the Geese”, was written in 1972 by Dr Robert McNeish of Baltimore.  Dr McNeish, for many years a science teacher before he became involved in school administration, had been intrigued with observing geese for years and first wrote the piece for a sermon he delivered in his church.  I had a several hour conversation with Dr McNeish in which he totally documented his research and how “Lessons from the Geese” got to be used worldwide.  How I found him was NOT easy and took roughly two days and a lot of blind alleys and even resorting to the telephone!  Below I include scientific documentation of his claims and also my research process in finding the authorship (anyone who has enjoyed detective novels might enjoy reading this).  CLICK HERE  for the Link to her article.

I trust that you will also learn Lessons from the Geese, as I  have. 

 Above all,  may we each remember and acknowledge the source of this intelligence, as we celebrate the coming of  “The Christ Child”  this Christmas .

Ask The Birds


Doctor Bill

Other Posts in The series:
The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve days of Christmas Day 1

The Twelve Days of Christmas Day 2

The Twelve Days of Christmas Day 3

The Twelve Days of Christmas Day 4

The Twelve Days of Christmas Day 5

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