Request Advice: Worried about my Phoebe

fagusabello

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 2, 2009
11
0
22
Montague, Massachusetts
Hey all, I am asking for advice/feedback if anyone might have an idea what might be wrong with my Phoebe (my female watch-goose).


[Phoebe seen here with three of my Ducks (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner - whose the Drake)]

A little background: Way back in April I allowed Lunch (one of my ducks) to brood on a multi-clutch of eggs and shortly there after I found Phoebe in one of my other nest boxes in what I thought was brooding. From that point I started to swap out her infertile eggs (Phoebe had no contact with the brand-new Gander in a separate pen) with some of the eggs that Lunch was sitting on. Phoebe religiously brooded for way over a month... NEVER getting off the nest. I ended up daily bringing water/food from across the pen to within neck reach. She hatched one healthy duckling and unfortunately crushed two others during the hatching process.

Two and half weeks ago I finally shooed her off the nest and dug out the dead ducklings & the infertile/dead remaining eggs (she'd buried). Phoebe has since refused to leave the pen while Lunch would daily take her brood (three ducklings) down to the pond (10 yards from the pen)when it's opened in the morning. I've noticed that Phoebe walks like she had a problem, slow, hesitantly, she keeps low to the ground, even when she honks/hisses at the other birds does so from a sitting position. I'm worried.

My first thought was that she had maybe been hurt (just when she started to sit on the eggs I had most of my Guinea Fowl flock wiped out by what I think was a skulk of foxes). Then I wondered if she might be worse... maybe she has an egg broken inside her - she had stopped laying shortly after sitting. Help.

If my greatest fear is true (an internal broken egg) what can I do? Will she recover from such a condition? Might it be something else? Any ideas? Anyone with such an experience or knowledge, please share, it would be appreciated...

Cheers,

JJ
Alterum ictum faciam - I'm going to take a mulligan
 

Kim65

Songster
10 Years
May 29, 2009
625
10
131
Washington state
I'm still learning about broody goose behavior. One thing I'm pretty sure of, Phoebe shouldn't be laying any more eggs, especially after she brooded a hatch, so I'd be less inclined to think this has to do with an egg.

Lord knows she could just be stiff as heck from sitting and not getting up for so long
or just not quite out of her broodiness yet. Sounds like she went down hard with the hormones, and she's just not back to her self yet.

Hopefully there'll be more input than I have. You could always examine her legs and feet for obvious problems, too.
 

Puddle Foot Farm

Songster
11 Years
Aug 20, 2008
638
2
139
Maryland
Does she still have her duckling?

I doubt it's an egg problem, as Kim said. If she was broody, she probably wouldn't be laying eggs anymore.
 

goosedragon

Songster
10 Years
Mar 28, 2009
2,351
21
171
Central NC
Quote:I bet you would walk funny, if at all ,after sitting in one spot for 3 or 4 weeks! you did not do her a service by moving food and water into neck reach they need to get off the nest at least daily to retain any kind of muscule tone. Hopefully she will slowly regain strength. You could cart her off to swimming water to help retrain leg movement without supporting body weight, It is going to take some time for her to get back to normal.
 

fagusabello

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 2, 2009
11
0
22
Montague, Massachusetts
Thanks for the responses. Checked her legs, didn't seem damaged in anyway (she relaxed when I picked her up and didn't squirm or was in distressed when I searched her body). I got Phoebe last year and she is suppose to be about 9 yrs old. She was very active prior to the brooding. I use to let the flock out everyday (even throughout the winter) and they would frolic in the constantly flowing trout stream (even in the snow) behind the pen/coop.

When we had the first major melt (this March) one of the flock got caught in the raging stream current, crying out, Phoebe plunged in to save the Drake, both were whisked away. I and my nieces searched down stream all that day and the next day. Finally found his tracks trailing from the stream, the Drake dead/killed by possum, at the farthest downstream edge of the property, Phoebe, no where to be found.

Without the Watch-Goose my flock was decimated by predator(s) (lost 7 ducks in three days before wising up). So I got a male and started to acclimate him to the remaining flock in an adjacent pen. I also kept the remaining flock penned up (which they hated). One evening I went down for their normal feeding to discover Phoebe just sitting quietly at the pen's locked gate. Seeing me she came over and put her head on my leg... my heart melted. It had taken her almost two weeks to make it back up-stream to the pen.

Back in the pen she was OK... seemed to move around easily. When I started to let them out again she was fine, it was about a week there-after when she started the brooding behavior.

Anyway, Yes, Phoebe still has her duckling (been calling her Drue). My worrying involves little Drue is so bonded to Phoebe and so doesn't leave her side at all. So she doesn't get to the water much (expect in the pen and whenever I refresh that water the other ducks rush forward pushing the baby out of the way and foul it up, gotten to changing the water several times a day). Worried if anything happens to Phoebe tiny little Drue will have problems... the Gander (Blinkie) picks on her and is only fended off by Phoebe.

He doesn't exhibit this behavior with the other ducklings and is very protective of the rest of the flock. Let's me know this vocally whenever I come around.

Anyway, Thanks for the feedback.

Cheers,
JJ
 

fagusabello

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 2, 2009
11
0
22
Montague, Massachusetts
Quote:I have tried herding her to the pond and even carried her down to the water she just turns back and heads back to the pen. It's frustrating seeing little Drue sit by her side and look off at the other ducklings playing (or being pushed away from the pen water).

You may be right I did her no service. It was only when I noticed that she NEVER got off the nest one weekend (was working on the coop & garden) that I decided to move the food closer. I sure hope you are right and she'll return to her old sponkie self.

Cheers,
JJ
 

Goosehaven

Chirping
9 Years
Apr 24, 2010
208
3
99
Indiana
I have a really broody goose too and I think she would sit year round if there were eggs to brood. Her first season of laying and sitting she was getting off the nest either to eat or drink. When she needed to relieve herself after a few days of all that poop that builds up she would just step a little bit away from the nest and they go right back to sitting. I kept her food and water with neck stretching reach too and I noticed after about a month she could barely walk as well. Her legs were so weak and frail from no exercise that it took awhile to get back to a normal gait. I don't know if thats her problem at all but it very well could be since she sit so long without getting off the nest like they need to. Every season after i keep food/water close but they have to get up and walk and stretch their legs to get to it. I've had no problems since. Hope thats all that is wrong with your Phoebe!
 

goosedragon

Songster
10 Years
Mar 28, 2009
2,351
21
171
Central NC
Just one more horror story. With my very first broody goose I moved the food and water within reach. Attracted a mob of crows to the feed (and the nest of course) The next thing I knew my poor goose was being mobbed by the crows and screaming in rage and for help. I took a broom and finished off the three crows that she had knocked down and the rest flew off. Poor goose had 6 deep cuts on her head and one just missed her eye. Got the bleeding stopped and treated with antibiotic oinment had many minor cuts on her neck that I let heal by themselves because she was determined to get back to her nest. When she walked up to the nest she just deflated like all her spirit had left her. Nothing but broken eggs and dead unhatched chicks. She checked each one and just wandered away like a lost soul. I herded her back to the other goose and went and cleaned up the nest. She grazed with the other goose but she was like the walking dead. AT first I thought it was physical shock but she didn't come out of it until I got a new gander...
 

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