Goose nesting problems

Discussion in 'Geese' started by sriston, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. sriston

    sriston Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Tamms, IL
    Hello everyone! We are new to raising geese, and I need some advice. We have 3 Production Toulouse that we have had for about a year. They were adults when they came to live with us here on our homestead, so I have no idea how old they are. One is larger than the other two, but I think we have 2 males and one female by their behavior. We hope to raise some young geese (naturally brooded) to add to our family meat supply (as in roast goose for Christmas dinner, etc.).

    We also have, and raise naturally, chickens, ducks, and turkeys. They are all heritage breeds. They all free range on our fenced 2 acres, and they all return to the barn at night. Everyone gets along wonderfully and we have never had any problems. We have had most of our old birds for several years- we eat the offspring they produce.

    A couple of weeks ago the big goose started getting a little crabby. He seemed to want to "guard" (for lack of a better term) the area the two smaller geese were in. He (could be a she, I have no idea) started sticking his neck out and hissing at us if we came too close. This bigger goose (we dubbed it the "goose commander") is the dominate goose; he has always herded the smaller ones around and even herds them into the barn at night and brings them out in the morning when we open the barn. (They are all secured in the barn at night.)

    The female (one of the smaller ones) has started laying eggs. She has laid an egg every day for the past 4 days. She has selected a corner of the barn for her nesting area. Our barn is big, and although there are chicken roosts and nest boxes in it, the barn is a communal area and everyone (meaning the animals) sleeps in it wherever they take a notion. The female goose will go into the barn and make herself comfortable on her chosen nest corner. The other smaller goose will stand next to her. The big goose stands at the barn door and acts like he would take your leg off if you dare try to enter. After the female is finished laying her egg, they all wander on out to the pasture, but it seems like every day the big goose is becoming more territorial over the barn, and now the other smaller goose (another male, maybe?) is getting into the hissing and threatening mode, too.

    Obviously this chosen nesting area is not going to work out..I need to get in and out of the barn without the threat of losing a limb, LOL. I assume that eventually the geese will want to keep all of the barn inhabitants out since there is a goose nest in there. I want them to move their nest. I have other outbuildings and even a smaller barn where they could set up housekeeping and not be a threat to any "trespassers" to their nesting area.

    How can I move the nest? Should I just take the eggs out of it and then pen them up in their new "home" area? We have raised plenty of ducks and chickens, but have never had to deal with territorial behavior from them.

    I should say that our geese have always been quite amiable towards us until the breeding season arrived. I also have never seen the geese mating; the female goose just started laying eggs. However, it is very possible that they have been mating and I have just not seen it.

    I appreciate any advice.

    Susan
     
  2. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
    Sounds like you have 2 feamle and a male. The male is the big one causing the trouble. He is protecting his mate(s) and the nesting location. If you move theeggs she could not want to sit and brood them. Best to fence the area off so you can safely come and go and allow them their own space without others in it. Geese are wonderful with other animals all year, then comes breeding season and they claim a space it is theirs and they will kill to defend it. your chickens and ducks could be targets if left as a free for all. The turkeys if they get to close could be at risk of attack as well.

    If you have an area that is secure and all their own you can move them and hopefully it is early enough in her laying she will be fine with the new space. Otherwise the first eggs might be ignored as she starts a new nest.
     
  3. sriston

    sriston Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Tamms, IL
    Thank you for your reply and your helpful information; I appreciate it. Yesterday I did remove the eggs from the nest and disassembled her nest in that corner of the barn. I am hoping she will make herself a new nest in a better place. I am trying to persuade them to occupy the little barn; I closed them in it last night. I hope she will make herself a new nest in it and continue to lay eggs where they will be out of the way and I don't have to worry about them terrorizing anyone. I did keep her 4 eggs she has already laid; I thought if she made herself a new nest today I would put them in it. She was very upset this morning when she came into the big barn to lay her egg today. She turned over every single piece of straw looking for her eggs and her nest. What a goose commotion there was! The three of them finally wandered on back out into the pasture. I will have a look around in a little while to see what they decided to do. I may lose the eggs she has previously laid, but in all honesty it will be worth it to regain peace and tranquility in my big barn!

    Thanks again!

    Susan
     
  4. newgoosegal

    newgoosegal Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2013
    Hey Susan- I feel like I'm in the same situation- new to geese and wanting to add them as supplier of meat for us and our customers. Their personalities are so different than the ducks and turkeys, it's been quite interesting to watch the breeding season begin and supervise the drama. I'm loving them! I think you should keep taking her eggs, can you incubate? If she starts to sit on a nest now, she might stop laying for the year after going broody. That's what I'm doing anyhow. Plus, I can't send them out to their pasture yet, as we have alot of snow still- so I am hoping when we move them across the farmyard to their summer pasture, they will hopefully make nests there, and then we'll let them try brooding their own eggs. It's just my understanding that once the start to sit on eggs, they stop laying, so you should eat (they are pretty delicious, I won't lie) or incubate the first eggs.
     
  5. sriston

    sriston Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Tamms, IL
    I don't have an incubator. The mama goose isn't sitting yet- she's just laying eggs. We have eaten a few of the eggs, and they are good- like huge duck eggs. I am hoping once her nest is full enough she will sit on the eggs and raise some young. I really don't need the eggs, as our chickens and ducks keep us in good supply of them. We need Christmas dinner, [​IMG] The new nest area that we made for her and confined them in seems to be working out good. It looks as if the nest has been used and I am anxious to see if there are more eggs in the new nest. However, we are not yet brave enough to enter their new territory, LOL. I will wait a few days and then let them out for a while, and then I can have a peek at the nest.

    I enjoy our geese, despite the drama of breeding season. I am just thankful the rest of the barnyard doesn't undergo such a drastic personality change when breeding season rolls around.

    Susan
     
  6. newgoosegal

    newgoosegal Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2013
    yeah no kidding their drama is very shocking!! So- how's it going over there with your geese?
     
  7. sriston

    sriston Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Tamms, IL
    Thus far, all is well. The mama goose is still laying eggs in her new nesting area and the other two are staying calm. The chickens get in her nest and wreck it (scratching up the straw) but it doesn't seem to bother the geese.
     

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