Goose plucking breast feathers? Should I be excited?!

Discussion in 'Geese' started by larkflying, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. I have one goose that has a gap where all of her breast feathers are missing - probably about the size of an apple. Mostly her other feathers slide over and keep it covered up unless she beats her wings - but I will keep trying to get a picture of it. She's an American Buff goose. My kids have seen the geese breeding, but I've never noticed it -- they tend to breed in the morning and then act innocent for the rest of the day . . . lots of gander pushing and shoving though.

    It seems an odd place for the other geese to pick at - I was wondering if she's plucking feathers for a nest? She's only 9 months old and I wasn't expecting any of my young ones to lay. We've looked through their fenced area though and haven't found any signs of a nest, although it is possible the feathers just blew away.

    I can't remember what goose eggs look like exactly -- are they textured like duck eggs or more porous like chicken eggs? Does anyone have pictures? I'd feel bad if she was laying and we picked them up with all the duck eggs.

    They have a dog igloo thing, and a covered area under the chicken house, as well as a whole grove of tighly planted evergreens . . . judging from what I have heard on the forums the geese will just pick a random spot and lay eggs . . . what do your geese like to lay in / on / under? We have lots of extra tires so I could try one or two of those . . .
     
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I haven't noticed any more than the occasional incidental feather in a goose nest. As far as my experience goes, they don't pull feathers for their nest.

    You won't mistake a goose egg for a duck egg. Goose eggs are huge.
     
  3. Oh bother. Now I wonder how she lost those feathers. I'm going to catch her tomorrow and try to figure it out. Here I was hoping that she was laying . . .

    And I assumed that goose eggs HAD to be a lot bigger than duck eggs, but I was starting to wonder . . .

    Thanks for letting me know!

    I'm in Northern Washington State -- I see you are in Oregon - have your birds started laying yet? Just curious when I can expect eggs in the Northwest . . .
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    My Pekins started laying a week ago. Nobody else is laying.

    Since the eggs keep freezing, I'm not all that anxious for them to be laying. They might as well relax until the eggs will be good.

    I'm on the east side, so my days are shorter than over in the valley, and it is colder. The ganders started hissing a couple of weeks ago, so they are at least thinking about nesting.
     
  5. 11th hour

    11th hour Out Of The Brooder

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    My males get bare-breasted from breeding this time of year, and the females get some damage to the feathers on thier back- especially one that was a rescue that didn't have the ideal diet for a few months.
    I have a yearling and a 2 year old toulouse both laying.
     
  6. opalwednesday

    opalwednesday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my geese has that same bald spot! It still has the down though, just not the top layer. Do they maybe lose the hard feathers to give the eggs something warm to be next to? Chickens do that....
     
  7. Yes, I've seen my banty hens pluck feathers when they brooded . . . and I thought ducks did. I was hopeful that she was laying eggs somewhere . . . sigh. No eggs yet . . .

    I'm pretty sure it is a female - she's very small, hangs back in the group, and is more slightly built than the ones displaying male behavior. So if it is not mating behavior, and not nesting, than I am confused.

    Even more confusing is that now she doesn't show a missing patch -- maybe it was just when she was swimming that the feathers got clumped up or something. I'm going to catch her this week sometime to see what is going on, but haven't had the opportunity yet. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one . . .. maybe she got in a fight with one of the ducks and those feathers were as high as the duck could reach [​IMG]. But I doubt the ducks would even try since the ganders are so on watch these days.

    Thanks for letting me know -- I'll check when I catch her and see if it is just missing top feathers, or some of the downy ones too . . .
     
  8. littledear

    littledear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My geese lay in protected areas like around trees and bushes. They scoop out a shallow area in the ground and then cover the eggs with the leaves and sticks or pine needles that are close by which makes the nest almost invisible. The eggs that mine are laying right now are about the size of a large duck egg and are the same shape. Two of my females started laying early one at 7 months of age and one at 10 months of age. I have Troulouse and brown Chinese. The smaller eggs are about 3 inches long and 7 inches in diameter. My biggest egg is 4 1/2 inches long and 8 inches in diameter. The females will get larger in the back when they start laying and will waddle more when they walk. Most of the breeding occures in the water and the male will make a loud squack to brag when he is finished. If you have a male you will soon see them breeding if you watch and then you will know that your female is cycling and most likely laying eggs. Mine sometimes sit up to two hours on their nest when laying but none have gone broody yet. Hope that helps you some.

    Littledear
     
  9. littledear

    littledear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just so you know, one of my geese has been laying since December and yes some of the eggs froze before I found them. Now they are all going into the incubator until it gets warm enough. I left some of the ruined (too cold) eggs in the nest to keep them laying.
     
  10. Hmm, there are definately enough pine needles / loose dirt to scrape over her eggs . . . and the ducks pretty much lay out in the open. How sad that I might have eaten a goose egg : )

    I'm going to have to crawl through the prickly fir trees and see if anything looks suspicious . . .

    They are breeding, so it is likely that there are eggs somewhere . . . even if we've been picking them up as duck eggs.

    Thanks for the information!
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012

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