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Please help me understand nesting requirements.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am searching threads for my answers but digging through all of the chaff is taking quite a bit of time.

My situation is this:

I'm in Central Va. Mild Winters and wet Springs.
I free range a flock of 30 laying hens and a breeding pair of American Buff Geese.

They all bunk down in an open access hoop house shelter.

I use clothes baskets filled with hay inside of the shelter for the hens.

I'm interested in raising some goslings.

I'm hoping to let the geese do the work this time and I will take more responsibility for incubation next season.

Let me know if there is any pertinent info that I've left out.

My main question are:

I seem to understand that geese don't lay year round like hens. What is the egg season for geese?
Should I attempt to provide a nest or will she do a better job?
If I provide, how much shelter should it have?

Middle of March and she has not laid any eggs. What does that mean for my hopes of goslings this season?

Success rate of natural brooding vs. artificial incubation?


I know that these answers are all in these threads somewhere and I am trying to find them.

Please share what info that you have.

post #2 of 10

NO NO don't fret! It's quite warm when my girls even Begin to lay, like late May early April. If I were you I would try to encourage her to use a nest you provide. An indention in the ground with alittle hay. She will probably choose her own spot but many times it's not a safe place and once she has gotten the number of eggs she wants she WILL NOT get off the nest even if a coyote does want her to, she will sit her ground and get eatin!

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you.

Should the shelter that I provide be enclosed?


They are both pulling feathers from their chest/neck area. Is this nesting behavior?

post #4 of 10

well she might like an enclosed area and she might not lol they all have their preferences, not alot of help I know. I use to have one who would kick the dog out of his house every summer but I have another one who sits in the middle of a field, of course I think she does it to annoy me when I mow!

 feather pulling is sometimes nesting behavior but if thats the case she already has a spot picked out and is furnishing it so to speak.

or do you mean they are pulling each others feathers out? 

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Not sure if they're pulling out each others or their own.

My plan so far is to use straw bails and plywood to build a couple of nests in a few locations around the yard.

I'll lay a couple of 55 gal barrels over also.

post #6 of 10

sounds good.

keep an eye out on that feather situation, if you find those feathers you find the nest. Generally if they are pulling each others feathers they will just be all over the place.

Good luck

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for taking your time with me!

What are the implications if they are pulling out each others feathers?


Questions that I'm still looking for answers on:

What is the egg laying season for geese?
How much shelter should the nest have?

Success rate of natural brooding vs. artificial incubation?


I'm also seeing references to "keeping the eggs cool" until I give them to a broody goose.

At what temp should they be held at?

post #8 of 10

As far as keeping the eggs cool goes, basically just the temp of a cool room. Don't do like I did 20 yrs ago when a put a bunch of eggs (from different things I had gathered) in a shoe box and set it on the dryer then promptly forgot about it. When you have teenage girls that de-wrinkle their clothes every 5 minutes, I had basically just created a mini incubator!

Geese CAN begin to lay any time from Feb- June, they will lay untill they feel they have enough eggs (15-30)

shelter for the nest is provided by mom for the most part by I always try to put something up to help keep the sun off of her as 100 degrees is nothing out of the ordinary here.

This is personal opinion! mechanical incubation has always provided more goslings for me. geese are heavy birds and when bothered they tend to break eggs, they also are not great like chickens to rotate eggs, then even if she does actually hatch out some they loose them in the yard or what have you.

Personally I always take about half and hatch myself, after hatch I keep them inside at least 5-6 days then I sneak out at night and put them under mom, DON"T use a flashlight she will catch you for sure and may reject the babes. Now she may reject some or all anyway so you gotta watch for a day or 2. I have only had one lady reject on me in all these yrs and she was the weird goose who preferred to raise chicken babies!

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

You've been a big help... thank you!

post #10 of 10

No problem and best of luck!

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