Are adult geese to be trusted with goslings?

Discussion in 'Geese' started by Sunny Side Up, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I have a pair of adult Embdens, Elmer & Gertrude. I've been bringing Gertie's eggs to a friend with an incubator, and she recently gave us back 3 new goslings. They're about 1 and 2 weeks old. Should I keep them well separated from Elmer & Gertrude? And if so, for how long?

    Right now the goslings spend their days out in the grass under a wire rabbit-cage top. Elmer & Gertrude seem very interested in them, but I don't know if it's for the right reasons. They have hissed at them and made moves as if to bite them. I fear that just one ill-placed bite could kill a gosling. I put an extra layer of wire netting around the rabbit cage so the adults can't reach through the bars with their beaks. But I find them there often, poking at the wire with their beaks, looking very interested.

    My friend with the incubator has a Sebastapol gander who loves goslings & adopts all the ones hatched there. I saw him out in their yard with a small gaggle of teenaged goslings and it looked so sweet. I know that Elmer & Gertrude aren't recognizing these goslings as their own children. If I knew they wouldn't hurt the goslings I would be glad to let them tend to their babies. But I am very hesitant to take the risk.

    Please let me know what you think, what your experiences have been, what you would advise. Thank you!
  2. goosedragon

    goosedragon Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:What are the goslings reactions to the geese? Usually they are easier to read than the adults. If they shy away from the adults, congradulations you are now the mother! They bond while very young, If they don't bond then they aren't likely to later. Usually geese adopt goslings the same age as their own. Since Elmer & Gertude were robbed of parenthood, they may not want to adopt. You say they appear interested but you don't know what their inttention is. Take a gosling into their general area and upset the gossling so it gives a destress call, if the adults try to kill you you know their intenttions are good. If they pay little attention to the goslings crys, congradulations you are the mother! and will be untill the goslings are big enough to do their own fighting since they won't know that it is the parents they are fighting with.
  3. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Quote:[​IMG] So true!
  4. Goosehaven

    Goosehaven Chirping

    Apr 24, 2010
    My gander and one of my females did the same thing with my goslings when I put them out in a seperate pen. They were around 5 weeks at the time. I was so afraid they were going to hurt that that I've kept them seperated ever since. I think I was way too overprotective and if I would have just introduced them into the yard they probably would have taken to them, or at the very least tolerated them. I think I made a big mistake because now the same two act like they want to attack when they go down the run to a separate part of the yard and they are 12 weeks old so it hasn't gotten any better and they see them all day long. I think the adult geese would more readily when they are young. I wouldn't suggest just putting your babies out there though without you in between them and your adult geese. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  5. Each time I've incorporated baby goslings into my adult flock it has been positive. The babies were about 2 weeks old each time. Old enough to keep up with the flock, etc. Just this year I had three single ganders that had not paired off with geese adopt 8 babies. I currently have 4 babies that are about a week old in my garage. In the next 7-10 days I plan on giving them to a goose who's nest was infertile and her "husband" gander. Their is a third girl sitting on eggs that is part of their trio. I'm waiting a full 40 days to make sure her nest doesn't have any babies that are about to hatch and then the I'm moving these 4 babies outside to live with the trio of adults. Hopefully this transitition will be successfull too.

    Thankfully, I've never had adults show agression towards babies.
  6. Kim65

    Kim65 Songster

    May 29, 2009
    Washington state
    I had an effortless experience giving four goslings to an adult flock of what turned out to be all ganders. They were very interested when I put the babies (then four weeks old) out in a pen. The babies in retrospect accepted the presence of the adults, and the adults did not make threatening gestures, or hiss. I let this go on for a couple of days and then took the babies out of the pen. I never got close to them again [​IMG] . I never get tired of telling that story.

    That said it's much more important to be cautious. My geese didn't give me any moments of wondering.
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Thank you for your stories, please continue if you have more. My concern is that Elmer is very protective towards his wife Gertrude and will chase & bite anyone or anything that he perceives to be a threat to her. And Gertrude hasn't shown any signs of wanting to brood or mother her eggs beyond laying them and covering them with straw. I wonder if adoption is more likely with bachelor or broody geese.

    Perhaps I should try keeping Elmer in their pen in the back yard and letting Gertie meet the goslings by herself. I'll stay close by to intercede if she tries to bite them. Even if the adult pair don't want to adopt the goslings I will at least keep them where they can see each other & hopefully get better acquainted.
  8. Chik-n-legs

    Chik-n-legs In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2010
    Quote:[​IMG] So true!

    Oh yeah!!!!![​IMG]
  9. sillysister74

    sillysister74 Chirping

    Apr 8, 2010
    I can say Jesse fussed a little and hissed when my babies came home, I put the in the yard and he acted a complete fool. I would let the babies when I was out there and he warmed up to them becoming daddy. I did this every day for a couple of weeks bringing them out while I did my gardening or sitting on a blanket etc. He would forget that we had babies and hiss again until he realized they were his babies. After about a week if I had not come out at the time he thought I should be, he would climb on the porch and knock on the door until I brought them out. For some reason his daddy complex kicked in where Zerelda's did not. It was strange though because before Zerelda, he had never been around a goose only chickens (previous owner). He was the one always fussing over the nest.
    I don't know your geese and I am sure you do as a momma knows her babies whether feathered furred or upright and human. I had a feeling that my big geese would protect the smaller and the have so far.
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Thank you all for the imput. My goose Gertrude is still laying eggs every 2-3 days, so I wonder how maternal she could be towards hatched chicks. And Elmer is so very devoted to her and defensive towards anything he preceives to be a threat to her. Still, they both seem very interested in the goslings and spend a bit of time by their enclosure. But the goslings are still so small I fear they could be killed or terribly injured with just one strong peck or bite.

    I will continue to keep them in a secure enclosure where their parents can see them, but not reach them with their beaks. And I will continue to provide times of closely monitored encounters between them until I think the goslings can be safely left alone with them. It's tricky, because I want to stay close enough to grab up the goslings if their parents start acting aggressive, but not so close that the parents are nervous & wary because of my proximity.

    Yesterday I had the biggest gosling in a galvanized tub with a few inches of water in it. I let Elmer & Gertrude get close but I stayed nearby too. Elmer was nuzzling the gosling with his beak, not at all hurting it, but he did sort of give it a few soft bites on the tail, enough to make it PEEP! I let that go on for a few minutes before removing the gosling. I really hope they all can live together when the goslings are grown.

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