Goose born with no eyes and half a beak rescued and lives happily with retired chickens

A goose born with no eyes and only half a beak now lives a life of luxury among retired chickens - and even has his own POOL. Two-year-old Nibbler was rescued from a farm when he was just a chick, as his facial deformities meant he may have been culled. But animal lover Marina Somma, 28, took the gosling under her wing and brought him back to her sanctuary in Flagler County, Florida. She said: "You do a bit of a double take and wonder who turned a child's drawing of a goose to life!" The completely blind Sebastopol goose now spends his days charging about with a flock of senior hens, eating and swimming. Marina, freelance writer, said: "He does sometimes get zoomies though - trouble is, when he has zoomies, he can run into things, so he likes to spin in circles instead." Marina regularly posts updates of him on her TikTok, @DarkWingsWildlife, which have been viewed over two million times. Trolls argue that Nibbler's disabilities mean he doesn't have quality of life, but his loving owner knows he is thriving on her 15-acre property. She said: "As long as Nibbler is healthy and happy he deserves to live, as does any animal." Marina discovered Nibbler for sale on a Facebook group for pet geese in March 2019 when he was only a few days old. She said: "When he was a baby he certainly had the baby-cute thing going for him, but he's always been a bit shocking on first impression regardless. "Despite the fact the group wasn't a local group, within a day or two of joining I saw a post about him and realized he was only 20 minutes or so from me. "I'm not a big 'fate' person, but it was a little too much of a coincidence for me to just keep scrolling." The tiny gosling was born with his facial deformities, and they weren't anything that the bird-enthusiast had seen before. And while his disabilities could have led his culling, fortunately Marina took him in. She said: "His deformity reminds me more of a very severe cleft palate than anything else. "He was healthy as any other little gosling! He just needs a bowl of feed that is a bit deeper so he can scoop it out more easily. "He can even find his food and water on his own despite the fact he has a whole paddock and stall to roam." Nibbler was a rambunctious toddler who would use his tiny beak to nibble on anything, hence his name. But as he aged he has become more fussy, and now refuses any snack that isn't poultry food crumbled up to his liking. He lives alongside a flock of retired laying hens, after the other geese on Marina's farm took to pecking his head. Marina said: "I'd love to say they're super friendly and cuddle with each other but that's not really how chickens are. "They seem to enjoy spending time in close vicinity to one another, sunbathing and whatnot, but they aren't doing a ton of direct physical interaction. "Nibbler does seem to be able to listen to where the chickens are to help him find his way around as well. "For example he might hear them eating from the food dish and make his way over there to have a nibble. "He's also taken up the mantle of guard goose, though he's admittedly not very great at it, he just give a few alarm honks when he hears unfamiliar noises or voices." As the goose wouldn't be able to find his way in any large body of water, his owner has given him his own special paddling pool. Marina, who also does freelance graphic design, said: "He can tell the difference between a clean pool and a pool he has gotten full of dirt too - which takes about two hours to do. "He just seems more excited for his freshly-cleaned pool, he spends extra time preening himself, flapping, doing little dips and wing flaps. "He also loves the rain - he'll stand in it and preen like its his own personal shower from the sky!" Nibbler does not let his differences hold him back; he loves to speak his mind and ensure he can be heard around the Dark Wings Wildlife centre. "In true goose fashion, he is LOUD," Marina said. "He makes three primary sounds: a 'bup bup bup' which is a quieter chatty noise, a 'homk' which is a louder call, and a very loud 'HOBONK' which is an alarm call!" She started posting videos of Nibbler on her TikTok, @DarkWingsWildlife, in December 2020, and it wasn't long before he went viral. Unfortunately, his severe deformities brought in trolls who argue that the bird doesn't have appropriate quality of life. Marina said: "I've worked in zoos and wildlife rehab so I have a pretty solid understanding of your basic criteria when determining quality of life, but it really differs based on the species. "Most people who actually have a conversation with me about his quality of life, aka people who aren't just trying to troll, end up agreeing once they've got more insight than a 12 second video can give them." She showcases her brood of non-releasable animals regularly with the aim to educate her followers about conservation. Nibblers legion of fans mean that he even has his own range of merchandise. She said: "TikTok helps me reach more people to develop an audience and allow our programs to grow, and Nibbler definitely inspires some dedicated followers. "Everyone deserves a chance."

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