How do you tell when geese start mating and laying?


6 Years
Oct 20, 2015
New Zealand
Ok I have 6 geese hatched last september/october (which is spring here), I'm told most geese lay from august/september here, but being young ones I'm not sure when they'll start.

I have 6, three pairs of pilgrims, and I haven't yet seen any signs of pairing or mating ... I've given them laying boxes, but I have a feeling they may opt to hide their nests in the bracken like ducks do, and how I'm supposed to find that I don't know.

So how do you tell when they are starting to lay? I know with chickens you can guess from the comb colour, and ducks get a low hanging bulge between their legs ... what about geese?

We plan to eat the first few eggs from each goose, put the next few in an incubator, and finally let them sit the last few. But that won't work if they start laying without us knowing and brood when they have the first few eggs accumulated ...

Also, how soon are eggs likely to be fertile? I haven't seen anyone mating yet ...


The Poultry Guy
Apr 2, 2016
New York
Having the same problem with my geese, they don't mate much. You should probably ask a vet. The way to tell if a egg is fertalized is if the egg has a little white circle in it and if it has a Air sack


Sep 22, 2015
Stafford, VA
Okay, by the sounds of it, you're "down under" or not in the northern hemisphere? If that's the case, I'll probably mess this up but I'll give it a whirl ;-)
Our geese only mated in the water. So if you don't have a pool / pond big enough for two, then you may not see mating. I'm no expert so I can't tell you if water is an absolute must. Near the end of winter, February and March is when they were the most active. Eggs were laid in late March and into April then all egg laying stopped. None this year were viable nor hatched. Not sure if it's because they're both under 1 at that time, or if it was something else. I've heard from a few folks who live near here that this year was not good for goose production. Sooooo, with all that said, you should see mating during the months of Aug / Sept / October and eggs being laid shortly after that. And that appears to be soon. Now my head hurts and I really sympathize with my poor mother who could not figure out the time difference between Colorado and Okinawa, Japan... :)

Oh and PS - geese are great nest builders. You'll know as soon as the straw, hay or grass starts getting gathered around to form that nest.
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In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 9, 2011
My pair hatched their first goslings this year. From what I understand the heavier breeds must have a pool/pond to mate in but the lighter breeds like pilgrims don't necessarily have to have the water but prefer it. I have a kiddie pool for my pilgrims but I never saw them mating all spring. I did notice the female was missing some feathers at the back of her head which I learned is an indication of possible mating since the gander will grab the goose there to hold on while mating. She did hatch a few geese so they must have mated at some point.

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