MacKenzie-Childs’ favorite feathered friend has quite the life story! We spoke to our estate manager (and Simon’s mom), Corinne Bowman, about how this lovable and social mascot waddled her way into the company’s heart.
Here is the whole story from Corinne’s perspective:
Simon hatched late from the flock of geese we had on the property. Her mother was low in the pecking order, but she built a nest, then sat and sat until she hatched three babies. Somehow, Simon got separated from the rest of the flock. We found her because she was making a tiny peeping noise on the other side of the fence, and we rescued her. She was just a tiny ball of yellow fluff; I could hold her in one hand!
Since we couldn’t tell whether she was a boy or girl, we ended up choosing the name Simon, and it stuck—even after we found out she was a girl. From the start, she was a very different goose. She was happy being held, while any other goose would fuss like crazy, and she spent her early life living in the barn on the property. At night, she’d get tucked into her little dog crate full of straw. I would come back in the evenings to let her go swimming and open the barn doors so she could get some fresh air.
Normally, geese imprint on another bird, but she ended up imprinting on me instead! She grew up with barn cats, and even when she was a tiny little thing, she’d run around after them with her little wings raised, putting them in their place. To this day, her favorite snack is dry cat food.
Eventually she outgrew her dog crate, and since we couldn’t keep her outside, we kept her with the sheep, and she lived with them for a few years until we had some particularly rambunctious lambs. Simon ended up with a broken wing, and we took her to Cornell’s animal hospital, where she was able to get amazing vet care and her wing healed perfectly. After that, Simon got her very own secure home that we built.
Since Simon was a lone goose, when it came time for her to lay eggs, nothing happened because the eggs remained unfertilized. And try as she might, no matter what Simon did, she wasn’t going to be able to hatch babies, even though she sat for a month. We had to go in and take her off the nest and remove the eggs, and we’d take the straw too so she wouldn’t build a new nest. It was really sad.
But then the flock hatched four babies, and somehow they got under the fence and over to Simon’s side. The babies ran right under the fence and snuggled up under Simon’s wing, and she claimed them as her own. Simon was so happy! We ended up letting the babies decide where to go, and they all stayed: three boys and a girl. All the babies are bigger than she is now, but they all live in harmony. There is no pecking order, and they follow her everywhere. While Simon was human-imprinted, her babies are only human-friendly.
This noble little goose has had quite the life and has inspired plenty of MacKenzie-Childs products. She’s had her own Christmas ornament, kids’ dinnerware set, and a line of ceramics, and she even made it onto a couple of Barn Sale T-shirts. Plus, we have visitors from all over the country who come here to see her. If you ever make it to our Aurora campus, be sure to stop by and say hello to Simon and her babies!