About to get some goose eggs, first time with birds!

Discussion in 'Geese' started by GooseN00b, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. GooseN00b

    GooseN00b New Egg

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    Poked around here for a bit of info, hoping to get any more advice people have!

    For the past year, I have been helping a coworker with his baby African Grey? geese (I call them OURS) by saving him produce scraps to feed them. Now they are all grown up, and he is getting eggs! He offered me chicks last season, but I declined, knowing the reaction I would get from the boyfriend. This year, he showed up with an unfertilized egg and asked me if I wanted some. I told him I want some fertilized ones! I figure the boyfriend would be *less* opposed to some *harmless* eggs... (heehee...)

    So my coworker said he would get me 3 (he said I want two geese to hatch, they get lonely). I don't have the eggs yet, but I expect them soon. Remembering the homemade incubators from elementary school (plywood box, straw, towels, heat lamp) I didn't think hatching them would be too hard with an old terrarium and heating pad I had lying around. Seems I am underestimating what I am getting myself into!

    I am not looking for a major investment, just a no-nonsense way to hatch 3 goose eggs. I don't mind turning them, but can't while at work (will be 9-12 hours I am away from home, no one will be home to turn them. Can turn them more on days off, obviously.) People seem to differ in opinion regarding turning and air circulation anyways, so I am not sure where I should be looking. Some guides I read said to not open the incubator to turn them, other people say they hand turn them, and others don't turn them at all! I didn't think I even needed a fancy incubator (I am a bit surprised to find eggs are so picky considering how harsh the wild is...), but I can throw $50 into essentials like a thermometer and heat lamp. I saw people talking about little giants and such, but it seems they need a lot of accessories and tweaking? Maybe I can build one with a styrofoam cooler for cheaper? Only three eggs here, and turners are for tons of eggs (and expensive!). I was thinking I could set them nestled loosely in towels and just tip the incubator to roll them over? Hova Bators also seem to come highly recommended... For better results, should I also maybe have my coworker keep the eggs with mom until they only have a couple weeks left?

    In terms of AFTER they hatch... well, I have plenty of produce scraps I can take them :) I live in a very mild climate area, and am more concerned about shading them in summer than keeping them warm. I figured I could just stick them in the backyard, they can eat my weeds for me! I don't have a lawn and can put some chicken coop wire around my garden beds to keep them out. Do they need a kiddy pool or pond year round, or will they be happy with plenty of drinking water? Will make them a nice little lean-to as well for shade, stick some straw in it. That was my original plan for shelter. I don't have any other animals, and I can always give them back to my coworker if it doesn't work out (he knows lots of people who like birds). I am also wondering if I have enough space? How much do they need? My backyard is... I don't know... maybe 1000 square feet? Lots of shade, high fences all around so predators won't even be able to get in (unless house cats are that bold/stupid to torment geese?). Coworker said they are super low maintenance, which is important. I need to be able to leave them to their own devices for a few days at a time if I leave town. I even have a nice side of the house that is completely shaded, lots of weeds, where I can stick a small fence segment and make a 'goose run' if they need to be contained for any reason!

    Anywho, advice for this (potential) new goose owner is appreciated!
     
  2. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    geese are not the easiest to hatch..............read the hatching sticky at the top of the page. It will cover every question you have for hatching.

    Now raising them. They NEED a heat lamp and brooder when they hatch. No way around it, you can not just put them in your back yard and let them fend for themselves. Until they are well grown any predator flying or not can kill them. once grown most 4 legged predators (including raccoons) can kill them.

    Your fences wont stop skunks, raccoons, flying predators, coyotes, bob cats. Domestic dogs can just dig under.

    Goslings need a proper diet, veggie scraps are not a proper diet. Feed should be: A- water specific feed (Mazuri among others) B- starter feed (chick crumble) with niacin supplement and daily grazing on grass in safe/secure fenced in area is a must.

    They MUST have water available as long as they have feed available. Feed available 24/7 for the first month minimum. if the grass dies off where you live you will need to provide feed all day for longer. Daily changing of the drinking water is a must. The water needs to be deep enough for them to dunk their entire head in it. it needs to not be such an open source that they could get in and drown. As they grow larger you can do supervised swims in a kiddie pool. Once they are full grown you will want to provide them a pool with clean water daily.
     
  3. GooseN00b

    GooseN00b New Egg

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    Dec 8, 2012
    I was actually planning on keeping them inside for a bit. That was the other part I forgot to ask about... how long do I need to keep them inside under the heat lamp? The terrarium I have is pretty big, so I figured that would suffice for a few weeks at least (I am only keeping two). When can I begin to handle them? And at what point will they be big enough to let loose into the yard? I can make a nice shelter outside pinned between a brick wall and the house to protect them from predators when they are juveniles, but I figured they would want to roam freely by then. I figure I can pretty much stretch a tarp over the top and make a short chicken coop door so I can shut then in when need be. Walls are seven feet high all around. I have never seen anything other than house cats get over them (and the neighbors with cats moved out a few months ago, so no cats in sight since then)

    I read the sticky and it sounds super finicky, which is why I am getting a bit nervous about it. I read some other random threads, and people were having success with still air cheapo incubators, so I figured they couldn't be *that* finicky. More than anything, I am hoping the breed I am looking at is a bit more hearty :) My coworker didn't seem overly concerned when I said I would just use a heat lamp. I recall he supplemented the diet when they were young, but otherwise just experimented with produce scraps to find what they liked. He didn't lose any of them. I definitely will be getting a diet rundown from him, but I don't think he has experience with hand hatching. He lets mom or his duck hatch everything.

    Will definitely shop around for some proper sized dishes to grow with them :)
     
  4. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

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    Keeping them inside until they can handle the weather without a heat lamp during the day is best. I usually don't hatch mine til spring, then keep them in the house for a couple weeks. I take the feed and water away at night after about 2 weeks.

    You will not believe how fast they grow out of every thing you think will last a while.

    Talk to and handle them from day 1. I would try to hatch at least 5 or 6 eggs just in case, and maybe you can give any extra babies back to your friend?

    If you aren't going to make a serious hobby out of hatching, could you possibly borrow an incubator? I have to say- I have had the best hatches when I do everything wrong. Even eggs that a broody goose abandoned- I put in the incubators with my chicken eggs and I had geese hatching every other day. In the turners. With no spraying.

    You will have the best results though if the parent geese are healthy and you aren't too stressed out about it. Nothing like baby geese to steal your heart away. Wee wee weep!
     
  5. GooseN00b

    GooseN00b New Egg

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    I will ask him next time I see him if he knows someone who would lend me an incubator, great idea! This dude knows EVERYONE, so I am sure he has a guy who hatches in incubators too :p

    Parents are super happy and healthy. If I remember correctly, mom only lost two eggs from her last clutch. The babies are big and healthy, hatched last spring, so I think they must be close to breeding as well! He said he was going to give them away, but I think he only gave away one or two. They stole his heart and he kept the rest!
     

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