Goose Not Sitting on Eggs

Discussion in 'Geese' started by CrotchetyFarmer, May 15, 2009.

  1. CrotchetyFarmer

    CrotchetyFarmer New Egg

    May 15, 2009

    I got a pair of pilgrim geese about a year ago because my wife thought they'd look pretty sailing around our pond (they do). However, in one of life's little ironies, they HATE her and love me...there's no accounting for taste.

    Anyway, I tried to keep them fenced at first, but they just flew out, so now they just wander around my 60 acre farm eating grass, stealing corn from the cows and abusing the dog.

    They seem pretty happy and healthy (though I'm sure I'm doing stuff wrong).

    OK, here's the point. I'm a cow guy. I am a novice with birds, so bear with me if my questions seem dopey.

    Last week, the goose laid 5 eggs in a pile of hay in the barn. She got real mean and ran both the gander and yours truly out of that section of the barn. I took this as a good sign. Like I said, there's no accounting for taste.

    For the first 2 days she was a good little mother, sitting on the nest almost 24/7. I would sneak in and leave her a little calf starter (her favorite dish) and a bucket of water, then run from the area before she took my head off.

    Then on the third day I saw her outside with the gander making her usual rounds. I didn't worry at first, since it was a warm day so I figured she was just stretching her legs. I checked the nest. She had carefully buried the eggs in hay, and they all looked good.

    Since then she has been spending less and less time with the eggs. She still spends the night in there, but at this point, she seems to spending all the daylight hours away from the nest. I'd guesstimate that she is spending less than 1/3 of her time with the nest.

    I have grown very attached to the darn silly birds, and I would love to see these eggs hatch. So on to my (as mentioned earlier) dopey questions:

    Is this normal? The farm is in upstate New York and the temperature has varied between 50 and 75 degrees for the period in question, except at night, but she sits on them then. I was kind of hoping that it was simply warm enough for her not to bother.

    If this is not normal, is it too late to run out and grab an incubator and save them?

    If this is not normal, what caused it and how can it be avoided in the future? Could it be because I bugged her when she was on the nest? Could something in my husbandry (or lack thereof) have caused this?

    I'll much appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance.

  2. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2008
    Congratulations on the Pilgrims. They're fantastic birds [​IMG]

    Do you know roughly how old your geese are? It sounds like you bought them as adults (which may explain why they don't like your wife - geese have ridiculously good memories and if they were mistreated by someone who looked or dressed similarly to her in the past they will carry the grudge over to her).

    Geese aren't fully mature until they are three years old. For the first year they don't lay very many eggs and when they do the fertility is poor. Since they're essentially "teen mothers" at that point, the odds of them sitting on the nest until the due date is pretty slim.

    By the second year they start to figure things out, but may still balk at sitting during the full term. By the third year they usually have it sorted out.

    There are exceptions to the rule. If she's an older goose who always had her eggs taken from her then she may not have any experience in setting. If that's the case then she'll just have to figure it out herself. She may sort it out this year or it may take her until next year to work out all the details.

    Get the eggs inside and put them in an incubator ASAP. Odds are they're too far gone already, but you never know. I've seen goose eggs survive insane things.

    It's a little late in the year, so she may or may not try laying again depending on your weather.

    Good luck with them [​IMG]

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