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Goose sitting on eggs, advice needed for when they hatch!

Discussion in 'Geese' started by yorkchick, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. yorkchick

    yorkchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a farmyard-type Touluse goose sitting on 2 eggs, they both show good development/movement with candling, they should be hatching in a few days. I'm looking for advice from others who have hatched eggs under their geese rather than going the incubator route.

    When they hatch will the goose keep them around the nest for a while or come back there at night for a while? She made the nest inside a big pen I have for the geese (I also have one other goose and a gander). I have in the past shut the three geese in the pen at night but lately have been leaving the door open all night. The other goose beds down very close to the broody goose at night; the gander has been keeping watch outside the pen.

    Should I close mom and goslings in the pen for a time after they hatch (for safety), or just trust the three adults to take care of the babies? There are raccoons, possums, skunks, probably fox, perhaps minks or weasels in the area. There are also coyote but they've never gotten through the fencing into the pasture area to my knowledge. I don't worry much about the adults but should they get penned up at night or even during the day until the goslings are bigger?

    I am obviously not looking to have the goslings imprint on me, but I would like them to be reasonably people-friendly or at least people-tolerant, and not completely wild. Does anyone have any suggestions for making them easier to work with/tamer?

    Any other words of wisdom, tips, or tricks you may have to share about letting mama raise the goslings would be much appreciated. Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Albanydog

    Albanydog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have the most unusual goose family going on that I have ever seen!

    We have Sebastopol and Toulouse geese and one female is clearly dominate. While all the ladies contribute to the clutch, only the one sits and hatches the chicks. She starts sitting on a few eggs and the others continue to lay and she pulls the eggs in. This way she hatches new chicks every day or 2. She keeps them with her for a couple days before she comes to the door screaming and everyone comes a running, then she will gently shove the oldest goslings out to the "babysitters". All the geese stick close to the goslings and form a vicious circle of protection around them if you get too close. The other females stop laying at this point. When they are still young the goslings are returned to her every night but after a couple weeks the goslings start staying out with the sitters more and more. When the dominate female is done hatching all the eggs she comes out everyday and hangs with the rest of the flock. after 2 weeks or so the nest starts filling up with eggs again and we often see the dominate female and another female in the nest at the same time. The dominate returns to the nest house every night, don't know if she sleeps on the nest or not. Then when she decides it is time she stops coming out again and is back to sitting.

    No one we have ever told they have ever heard of such a thing before. Even our previous experiences with raising geese 25 years ago was nothing like this,however the females have always kept the goslings with them and the gander has always helped protect them until they are well into their feathers before we have noticed the mom letting go and even chasing the goslings off a little, probably tired of having such a big chick crawling all over them! LOL.

    My advice for getting your goslings to be people friendly is to spend time around them, lots of time. They are never as friendly as when they are hand raised but I know, it is so much easier to let the momma do it! We hatch a lot of our chicks in the incubator and when ever possible stick them under a broody hen so she can raise them, less work for us. We have even done this with goslings, sneaking them under momma goose at night and she always takes them in as her own! If you do not mind the extra work you can always catch the goslings after momma starts bringing them outside and hand raise them from that point so they are sure to be people friendly. Good Luck
     
  3. yorkchick

    yorkchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! What an interesting set of behaviors! I wonder if something similar might have happened if I hadn't kept taking away the newer goose eggs that Libby (the goose that's sitting) keeps rolling under her after Penelope lays them nearby. I marked the first two eggs, so I know which are the new ones. I had assumed that if I let Libby sit on the newer eggs, she would just have abandoned them when the original eggs hatched, like chickens will do. But maybe Libby had a plan all along--"i'll keep hatching 'em, you raise 'em!" Or maybe your smart goose is unique in her "system".

    I wasn't really planning to add to the flock this year, so I left a couple wooden goose eggs in the shelter I wanted them to use to lay in, but picked up the real eggs every day. From what I'd read, geese are supposed to wait until they have a clutch of 8 to 10 eggs before they start sitting. Well Libby has clearly never read the goose behavior manual, because she started sitting when there were only 2 wooden eggs and 2 real ones in the nest. This was a brilliant move on her part, actually, because while I do not want to keep or have to rehome 8 or 10 more geese... two more seems perfectly reasonable. :rolleyes: Goose math!

    Anyway, next question: How safe is it for the goslings to swim? At what age will the adults allow/encourage them to swim? I have read that goslings and ducklings can drown if they can't get out of the water. I have put away the geese's big wading pool because I thought the goslings might get in and then not be able to get back out over the steep sides. I have left out two more shallow cement-mixing tubs that the geese use to wade in, but I did a half-size cement block in each one along one side, with another half-sized block angled up to the side, so they can (I hope) get out once they're in. Or am I over thinking this? (What, who me, over think? Not possible! :p) Will the adults be able to help the goslings get out of the tubs? I believe that in the wild the adults swim with the babies fairly early, but a lake or a river would have gradually more shallow areas instead of the steep sides of the wading pools, so not so dificult to get on to dry land when necessary...
     
  4. Albanydog

    Albanydog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Oregon Coast
    I had a recent experience with a broody hen we allowed to sit on a batch of Chocolate Indian Runner duck eggs because she just insisted she needed to hatch some babies. We put her in an old covered cat litter box and set that in a big cage so no other hens could try to muscle in on her hatching. Runner ducks take about 29 days but I swore I kept hearing peeps coming from under her several days early. I thought I must be crazy and it must be birds chirping outside I was hearing. Nope, after we figured the duckling had started to hatch mom stuck a hand under momma hen and grabbed out a duckling to look at, she said she felt at least 3 total under her but there were still eggs to hatch. We started pulling the ducklings out a few days later when we moved the hen to a different area so the ducklings could come out and run around and out ran a little black chick. One of our Indian Runner Ducks turned out to be a chicken, which would have hatched at 21 days. I am glad I had been dropping food into her nest and kept water hanging at the door opening, poor little chick could have starved to death. Our little hen had hatched the one egg at 21 days and stuck it out another 8-10 days until the ducklings hatched! My guess is that they must feel the chicks moving around in the eggs, so she knew the rest were still viable?

    She may be an exception to the rule or something because she hatched out the Chocolate runners and the one black chick and a week later we snuck 2 yellow incubator chicks under her, she never even blinked an eye. A few days after that I was shopping in the valley and found some yellow runner duck chicks and brought four home and gave them to her and she took them in too! She has a total of 9 ducklings and 3 chicks she is taking care of right now!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Kiwi Em

    Kiwi Em New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2015
    HI there, I have two rescue geese who managed to hatch out two eggs. After managing to kill one gosling and the other being left for dead, I rescue the 'left for dead' gosling. I managed to use the hairdryer to bring up its body temperature and hand reared it for two weeks. At this stage I let it out with mum and dad during the day for 2 weeks. In New Zealand the nights warmed up and I began leaving Spruce Goose out at night. Spruce was completely accepted by his/her parents. Nessie and Max ( mum and dad) have now decided to give having kids another go and they have built a nest down by our lakes. I am now presuming that Spruce may be a girl as when mum got off the nest tonight, Spruce - who is about 7-8 weeks old and almost as big as mum, turned the eggs delicately and sat down on them. Mum and dad were quite happy with.

    Is this normal? I've never had geese before and have been trying to find out. Does this mean I should presume that Spruce is a girl?
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Western N.C.
    I've never heard of it at such an early age, but I do know that geese are very interested in eggs.theirs or someone else. I've never seen any one of my ganders even when young go and lay on eggs interested in them but not lay on them so maybe that is a sign.. I sure hope they do a better job this time around. What breed are they ? and
    Maybe @jchny2000 has seen this behavior before.
    Welcome to BYC..
     
  7. matthew bridges

    matthew bridges New Egg

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    Nov 2, 2015
    I have one goose that just started laying eggs. It now starting to get cold. Is there something I should do to help keep them warm or will the mom take care of it all
     
  8. Kiwi Em

    Kiwi Em New Egg

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    HI there, They are Pilgrim Geese. I absolutely adore them. Also have Muscovy ducks as well as wild rescued ducks.
     

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