Goose and cow make odd couple

The pairing of two animals in North Bend proves the saying that opposites attract, and illustrates a lesson of diversity in friendship at the same time.

Slick, a 3-year-old female Canadian goose, no more than 2 feet tall and weighing less than 10 pounds, has been palling around for about a year now with T-Bone the Hereford cow, who weighs around 1,000 pounds and is at least 5 feet tall. It's an arrangement that the animals' owners, Harry and Helen Trostel, and their neighbors find amusing.

"I kept driving by and kept seeing this goose by a cow," said Leila Weber, who lives nearby. "One day I went by there and they had their noses touching together."

The bovine and fowl live on a mini farm at the edge of North Bend with dozens of other geese. The bizarre friendship started when the other geese wouldn't accept Slick into their gaggle. Slick was given to the Trostels by some friends who raised her from a gosling. The couple thought she'd fit in, but the other geese - white Chinese and pilgrims, along with a few other Canadians - rejected her.

This cold-shoulder effect went on for a year, until Slick was fed up. She flew over two fences and a driveway into another section of the Trostels' pasture. And there was T-Bone, a lovely brown cow with a white face.

The Trostels figured the friendship would last only until Slick found a mate. However, after having been courted by several males over two mating seasons, the goose decided to stay with her bovine buddy. Slick follows 10-year-old T-bone everywhere, sleeps and eats nearby.

"Sometimes she follows the cow and stays on top of the barn at night," Helen said. "And sometimes she sleeps on top of the house." The other geese, in comparison, sleep in an enclosure protected from predators.

Helen explained that Slick is now her favorite goose, and can tell the bird apart from the others.

"She has a unique way of talking. If you say, 'Slick, Slick, Slick,' she'll talk back. I think it was because people raised her and talked to her all the time," Helen said.

Although Slick's choice of company is questionable, she does her job on the farm as well as the other geese. Harry started keeping geese so they would trim the grass on his property, which they do an excellent job of, he said.

"They kept the grass down so well that I put them on the lawn and then in my pastures," he said.

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