My Incubation Woes!!!

Discussion in 'Geese' started by goosemama, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    I am so bummed out over my latest incubator project I had to cry on someone's shoulder!! Did a hatch on 5/8 of 40 of our own chicken eggs and 38 hatched. I was thrilled. When they hatched we were given 11 turkey eggs and I bought a dozen Delaware and a dozen Barred Rock eggs online. They turned out pretty good with l0 turkeys hatching, l0 Delawares and 7 Barred Rocks. These last two breeds were shipped to me and I was pleased at the hatch rate for being shipped.

    Then I got over confident and put in some eggs from our Brown Chinese gander and Embden goose (she laid them all over the place and would not set). Also bought 3 Pilgrim eggs so they could go in with our two goose eggs. I had just purchased 2 male and 2 female Pilgrims about 2 weeks old. Twenty-eight days later one of our eggs hatched and all the Pilgrims were ready to explode (smelly and weeping) so I tossed them. They were filthy dirty and I should not have purchased them. I found another source for Pilgrim eggs and bought 3 on E-Bay and had 2 more of our eggs laid at the same time they arrived. I candled them all after 7 days and could definitely see blood vessels & eye and later pulsation in two of ours and two of the Pilgrims - I was elated. I was hand turning them about 2 or 3 times a day and spraying to keep moist as well as keeping humidity about 50 - 60%. Before I locked it down for the last 3 days I candled again and saw no signs of life as before in any of the Pilgrim eggs. At the 28th due day one of ours hatched. I checked the others and one Pilgrim egg had lots of gray liquid sloshing around so I tossed it. The other egg I can see feathers at the edge of the air sac but no sign of life. I AM SO DISAPPOINTED. I'm going to leave it in for another couple of days (today is day #30) but I KNOW it is dead inside. The other egg of ours started to smell (I could sniff the decay on the outside of the shell) so opened it and it was a fully formed very dead gosling. Now I have one sweet baby who is all alone which breaks my heart. I pick him/her up several times a day for a cuddle but he will have no company of his kind growing up. Don't think I am going to try goose eggs again - I am obviously not very good at it. But wouldn't you know the home crosses would hatch but the expensive Pilgrims did not??? Such is life. I feel like such a failure at this except for our own two babies hatched which are 5 weeks apart in age. I don't even have any baby chicks his size to keep him company.
     
  2. pete55

    pete55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 19, 2011
    Suffolk, UK
    Hi

    Dont worry the baby will be fine but very attached to you. yes of course they do better with company and they're such sociable birds. I dont see how you're a failure as you have had some sucess but goose eggs are often more difficult to hatch than other breeds of poultry.

    Your egg may have already been contaminated resulting in rotting eggs and there's little you can do but it does point out that attention to hygiene and clean eggs does improve results. I've attached a link for an Incubation guide which may help you and dont be so hard on yourself. You'd never believe the losses I had before I persevered and gained more experience.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=491013

    Enjoy your gosling and hope you feel better in yourself very soon.

    Best wishes

    Pete [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  3. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Hi Pete - Thank you for your encouragement - your link on incubation I have read and reread and even read it again today!!! What a lot of work and dedication you have given - its very apparent. I'm not sure my feeble brain can sort out the info on loss of moisture within the egg, weighing etc. to determine - I guess I just have to keep on trying. The one breeder I bought the first 3 Pilgrim eggs from said she cools them down for about l0 minutes every day and sprays them. I didn't do this - just sprayed them when I turned them - as you say this method is still controversial and being such a Greenhorn, I figured I'd stick to what I did before.

    I do appreciate your sympathy though and encouragement - I'm feeling like a total ZERO today and feel so sorry for the one little gosling who will grow up without a buddy (other than me). The other Chinese/Embden cross gosling that hatched from our eggs on June 5th also hatched with the Delaware, Barred Rock & turkey eggs so he has lots of company and the chicks follow him all over the lawn. He does readily come up to me to "talk" and be petted and will come when I call.
     
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2009
    Well, I can certainly sympathize, your hatching results with shipped eggs overall sounds similar to mine -- I believe that goose eggs, when shipped, are really prone to damage due to their size and the laws of physics. A tiny egg like a button quail or coturnix quail will be subjected to less kinetic energy and force due to its smaller mass. Bottom line, most of them get scrambled to some degree by the post office. I think this results in some not doing anything, and others developing to some point, but having problems that ultimately leave them un-viable.

    I believe I had 20 eggs total out of my first 3 batches, and ended up with 3 birds. The first two batches came from a very sloppy person via ebay -- very poorly wrapped and coated in poo. The second batch was a replacement after I complained, they had less poo, but still weren't wrapped well, and a significant number of eggs in each of these batches arrived broken or at least cracked. Ironically, the third batch of 5 eggs was pristine and extremely well package, but terribly scrambled, and one of those 5 hatched.

    The next batch I tried was the victim of my incubator crash, literally -- 2 were broken on the floor, the third was not broken but apparently fatally chilled, as it did nothing else and died at the stage it was in then.

    I'm sure that your lone gosling will be able to go with the one hatched earlier in short order, g like 4 to 6 weeks. I can't imagine that this situation won't work out in the end. Please don't be hard on yourself, I can't believe that any of this is anything you did wrong.

    The only thing I would suggest is that, should you get dirty eggs in the future, wash them, either in a disinfectant solution or in bleach solution -- I've been washing eggs. I know that its considered "controversial" -- but I have been washing all of my eggs this spring, starting with those first filthy eggs, and it certainly hasn't seemed to diminish the hatch rate, in fact, I kind of think it has helped, since I've had really good results overall with eggs from my own birds.
     
  5. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Thank you Denninmi for your comments and encouragement. I have read too that cleaning eggs is a no no but my first batch was so dirty I wiped them off with a damp paper towel before incubating. In Dave Holderread's book on Geese he recommends using only clean eggs but those that are dirty should be washed in warm water as the filth outside will permeate the shell pores. Makes sense. I have a good forced air Hovabator that keeps a very constant temperature so I can't fault it. You may be right about the shipping being the critical factor as the only 2 to hatch were our own goose eggs. The second batch of Pilgrim eggs were really well wrapped in bubble wrap with lots of insulation inside a good sized box (and very clean). Two of them did start to develop but as you say, who knows what has been scrambled during shipping to stop development even after its started.

    The last Pilgrim egg is still in the incubator and its 2 days overdue. I candled it and can see a black mass and feathers on the edge of the air sac but no movement at all. How long do you think I should leave it in (hoping against hope) before I discard it? I don't want an explosion of bacteria either inside my incubator. Anyone have any opinions if I should leave it in a few more days or not?
     
  6. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would give it maybe another 24 hours, then candle again and see if you can see ANY progress or movement. If nothing, I think odds are its gone. But, hard to say for sure. I guess 48 hours on the outside if you can't detect a bad odor. I think the good news is, if its not stinky, the odds of it exploding are slim, so until it smells, you probably won't have an exploding mess on your hands.
     
  7. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Thanks for your thoughts - I know different species of geese have a small window of difference in hatching. I'm not educated enough on the subject to know any more than that - so was going to leave it in a couple days longer. Thursday the 14th was the hatch date so its now 3 days overdue. Our little Chinese/Embden cross gosling was due on the l4th too - he pipped a small hole then but didn't emerge until the next day Friday. I think I'll give it to Monday and as you say, candle again - even though I'm pretty sure its done for. Sure hope my 4 Pilgrims have better luck next year than I did, but they will only be yearlings so shouldn't get my hopes up.
     
  8. manybirds

    manybirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2011
    goose eggs don't normaly hatch untill day 32 so don't get to depressed yet. I would wait until day 33-35 to toss them. You can sex pilgrims on day one by down color (males are light females are dark) do you know what you have?
     
  9. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'd agree 100% with this. I have done a few experiments with washing/bleaching versus not washing eggs, and I have found that washed and bleached eggs do have a better hatch rate than eggs that have just been rinsed off under hot water, and the rinsed ones in turn have a better hatch rate than those that I haven't washed at all.

    The way I do it is to mix some bleach with hot water in a pan, and dip the egg in and out so it doesn't get too hot. I scrub it with a dish scourer till all dirt and also any shell discolouration has been removed. Then I rinse it off thoroughly under hot running water, dry it with some kitchen towel, and don't touch it with my bare hands after that.

    All the big commercial hatcheries sanitise their eggs, and there's no way they would be doing if it didn't work!
     
  10. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. That was a good tip that Pilgrims usually take 32 days - I didn't know that so will allow extra in the future. I do know about sexing Pilgrims (that's the main reason I bought 4 goslings to start my flock). But the eggs in the incubator were not from these (they are only 2 months old now). The 3 Pilgrim eggs were purchased on E-Bay and were very clean (unlike the first 3 I bought from a local breeder which were filthy). I agree that washing them in warm water & sanitizer of some sort has to be done for next time so there is no chance of bacteria getting through the shell. If Dave Holderread does it who can argue with his success? I candled the egg yesterday for about 5 minutes from every angle hoping to see movement - there was none. I wrote to Pete from UK who wrote the Incubation Guide to ask if there should be an air sac in the small end of the egg on hatching date? The two I did hatch from my own geese seemed right near hatching to be solid black at candling except for the slanted air sac in the large end of the egg. When I tilted this Pilgrim egg I could see liquid in there so that was another negative. I did toss it last night after that and am cleaning out and sanitizing my incubator and storing it away for the year. It is an expensive learning experience especially if one is buying eggs. So now I have two Chinese/Embden cross goslings one 6 weeks old and one 3 days old - both healthy and active., along with the 4 Pilgrims (2m2f) of 7 and 8 weeks old, plus my original pair of Chinese gander and Embden female so think I should be satisfied and see how things progress from here. Winter will be another challenge but have an Amish shed ordered just for the geese and will have to see if I can keep all of them together or split up the two crossbreds. I've found its kind of like being a kid in a candy shop with geese - you never have enough and there is always room for more - they are addictive, more so than chickens.
     

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