Broody goose questions

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
I have just one pair of geese, beautiful Embdens named Elmer & Gertrude. They're about 2 years old. Last year Gertrude laid eggs about every other day for a few months in the spring but showed no interest in setting on her nest. This year she began again in April and just when I thought she was finished for the season she is showing signs of wanting to be broody.

The nest site she's been using is up against our house under some bushes. All season she's been laying her eggs there. I have left a few to mark her place & have been removing the fresh ones as she lays them. For a few days she has been spending all day there, but not laying any more eggs. Each night we pick her up & put her in her pen for safety overnight. When she finally added one more egg to the nest I figured I should help facilitate her setting.

I tried putting straw in a corner of her pen and placing her eggs there, but when I went out to see her in the morning she wanted to go right back to her original nest. Yesterday I placed 2 of her other most recent eggs under her with her last one. Last night I made a bottomless cage to lower over her for the night.

This morning she was upset, had scraped the top of her beak so it was a bit raw. After I removed the cage & let her husband Elmer out of the pen she went and spent quite a bit of time with him in the poultry pool. She was off the nest for over an hour. I thought she might have quit the idea of being broody, but she is now back on the nest.

What do you think the eggs chances are of continuing to develop? Can geese take such long breaks from their eggs? Do you think she will eventually get used to the cage overnight? I may have to set my alarm for sunrise to take it off earlier. Gertrude & Elmer are such dears, we love them like family, I would rather risk her chance to hatch goslings than to lose her to a dog or a big raccoon bothering her on her nest. I know she's a big girl but we all would be heartbroken if something happened to her and berate ourselves "Why didn't we protect her better?"
My incubated eggs were left out for about an hour and were none worse for the wear. They were even misted so that they cooled faster. I think they'll be fine in that aspect.
I dunno about the cage, but I would guess if you can get out there earlier, she'll be happier.
People may disagree with me but I think you have to find a way to protect her. It would break your heart if something were to happen to her while she was trying so hard to be a mom and do what her hormones are telling her to do. I don't think a bottomless cage is going to cut it. How about a really, large sturdy kennel? I know Embdens can be pretty large. I think once she settles down and you find some kind of happy medium with her/your schedule she'll be fine. The trick is finding something secure but large enough to accomodate her while she's brooding. BTW - I think the eggs will be fine - you just need to find a way to keep her safe while she's trying to settle in.

Good Luck - keep us posted.

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Gertrude spent her second night in the cage. She seems more resigned to it, was more calm when I lifted it off of her this morning. For her sake I got up earlier and went out right away to take the cage off. I really think she will be safe in it, as safe as in anything else. It might upset her too much to rearrange her nest to put it inside a kennel with a door. You're right that we would be heartbroken if anything happened to her, but I think this really is a good safety measure. I also set a live trap nearby to entice any critter who might want to bother her into the trap instead.

I put a tub of water nearby and a pan of food for her, she spent less time off the nest today. Elmer seems a bit lost without his Gertrude to walk around the yard with, he needs a hobby now. I still put him back in their pen for safety each night.

Please add your prayers to ours for Gertrude's safety & hatching success!
Better pray hard I doubt she will hatch under the conditions you describe. As for being off the nest what are the temperatures of your part of FL this time of year If above 85 it is going to take a long time for those eggs to cool and they really do do better if allowed to cool. As for your trap if not baited it isn't going to attract much and if baited it is going to attract preditors to the nest area, Not a great idea IMHO. Pray for the best and I hope Getrude survives I have heard so much about her (did she fail to adopt the goslings?)
All right, we're about 10 days into the project, and so far so good. Thanks to the Lord! We do pray fervently each night for all our flock, and now especially for Gertrude. It does seem that she takes quite a long break off her eggs each day, but if they are needing a daily cooling period then I guess that's what she's doing. I tried to reach under her the other night to take an egg out for candling, but Gertrude vetoed that idea in no uncertain terms.

I have had a couple of chicken hens hatch goose eggs, and they don't take such long breaks off the nest. Their goslings have hatched well, but they hatch earlier than expected. Maybe it's because of the extra heat.

Gertrude's nighttime set-up isn't ideal, I wish she would have made her nest in her own pen. But the cage seems heavy enough to protect her, and the trap is baited, but just far enough away to attract predators to it & not to Gertrude. I caught a HUGE opossum the other night in it. There had been a Khaki Campbell duck who made her nest under a nearby bush, I had given her 2 goose eggs to incubate & one disappeared mysteriously one night. Now I think it was that opossum, and now he's gone.

I have 3 other goslings that are a few weeks old, hatched in a friend's incubator. They're big enough to roam a bit in the yard during the day, and Elmer does take an interest in them. Gertrude also shows interest in them, but doesn't act extremely maternal towards them. I really hope her 3 eggs will hatch & that she can mother them well.

Please add your prayers to ours for Gertrude's safety & success!
We're on Day 26 here & there's been a problem. I knew the cage deal was not ideal, but the best thing I could find to do to protect Gertie & her egglings. My bedroom window faces east & I usually get up early each morning with "Open Gertrude's cage" the first thing on my mind. Some mornings find her setting contentedly on the nest, some find her frantic trying to get herself out. This morning was one of those frantic days, she was jumping up & down pecking at the top of the cage... and she crushed one of her eggs.

It was smushed like a hard-boiled egg when you drop it, with the shell cracked but held together by the membrane. And there was still a LIVE gosling curled up inside! A bit of the shell was missing right over the beak, and it is breathing & peeping.

I have it inside now, in a plastic cooler, wrapped in a damp washcloth with just its beak exposed. There is also a bowl of water on the cooler floor, and a heat lamp set up on a wire rack over the cooler. And a damp towel around the other exposed areas. The wall thermometer I put in there says around 99 degrees. And the gosling is still breathing, still occasionally peeping.

Of course I've been kicking myself from here to next Christmas, wishing I had gotten myself out just that much earlier this morning to have avoided this. I will be setting the alarm for the remaining days, to be sure to get Gertie out right at daybreak. I haven't been able to candle these eggs, Gertrude won't let me reach under her at night to take them. Actually, I was surprised to find that these eggs have been developing, she spends so much time off the nest. I felt the other 2 eggs, one feels light and the other feels heavier, so I'm hoping that at least one of them will develop & hatch.

And I'm praying for a miracle to happen with this crushed gosling. I'm of the Where-There's-Life-There's-Hope school, know that this baby's chances are slim, but still hoping for miraculous results.
that is awesome! I have a good feeling about this one, I really do feel certain that it will be fine. It's not that much too early, right? Anyway, good luck, and congrats mamma. jennifer

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