Rescued Gosling - Please help us decide what to do with it!

M0therGoose

Songster
11 Years
Apr 1, 2009
102
11
154
Houston area, Texas
We live on a community lake with a flock of 5 domestic geese. We have lived here 5 years and they have always been here, so I don't know how old they are. They had 2 babies this spring; one disappeared already. Last night we had a bad, heavy thunderstorm all evening and off/on into the night. Around 2:00 am, we heard the geese honking up a storm right off our dock. They were going nuts. Got our flashlight and found the baby stuck in some pond weed near our bulkhead, with no dry ground that it could reach. We decided to try to get it unstuck, but during the process, the geese stopped honking and swam back to the other end of the lake where they normally hang out, leaving baby behind. Baby was exhausted, back completely submerged in water. No way could it swim after them. We scooped it up, brought it inside, blow dried it off and put it on a heating pad. About 4:00 am, I heard a goose out back honking, apparently came back to look for it. Poor thing! This morning, baby was fine and hissing at us.

Now we are at the point of what to do!
1. Do we return it ASAP (now) to his flock?
OR
2. Do we raise him until he is bigger (fully feathered out), with the goal of him joining his flock again?

If we do #1..... I am afraid he will just die like all the others have. They have never successfully raised any babies the whole time I have lived here. We are on a lake with big mouth bass, lots of hawks. The natural lake edge is about 50 % bulkheads, 25% steep erosion, with only 10-20% left of possibilities for them to safely roost. So not a very baby friendly lake! Do I take my chances anyways???

If we do #2.... Will his flock accept him back when the time comes?? Will he be too imprinted on us? Willl he properly know how to hunt and act like a goose to survive with the others? Am afraid to mess with mother nature, don't want to ruin him!

What should I do?
 
Last edited:

M0therGoose

Songster
11 Years
Apr 1, 2009
102
11
154
Houston area, Texas
Contact your local Fish & Game Dept., they will take it to a local rehabber to raise and ultimately release into the wild. Nice rescue!
I actually vollunteer in wildlife rehab on the side, specializing in opossums, subpermitted. I know my center’s protocol is to return wild fowl to mom asap, but since these are domestic geese, i need a domestic perspective. Domestic geese are considerably different in that they don’t fly, nor migrate. Their current circumstance is different than wild fowl, so trying to take into consideration.
 

M0therGoose

Songster
11 Years
Apr 1, 2009
102
11
154
Houston area, Texas
Why wouldn’t you give the gosling back to the parents?
Because based on past observations, I think its chances of survival would be pretty slim if I did that at the size it is now. This flock of geese have never successfully raised their babies to adulthood on this lake for whatever reason. We have never seen their babies live past the size this one is now. Thinking if I can babysit it a while longer, give it a few weeks to grow bigger it will have a better chance.

I agonized over this all day. The last thing I want to be is a kidnapper.

We tooled around the lake this evening and noticed there were only a few low spots along the edge for babies to get in and out. Our lake is 75 acres, and it is a LONG way from any lake-edge the babies can reach whenever they bring their babies to our end of the lake. Mabey they are drowning from exhaustion? There are also some very aggressive geese in the flock. We observed several of them pecking and nipping at it the other day, and one of them picked it up by its neck. Really not surprising none of them have made it. Just thought I could give this one a better chance.
 

Flockincrazy

Crowing
May 23, 2020
2,737
6,349
396
Elyria, Ohio
We live on a community lake with a flock of 5 domestic geese. We have lived here 5 years and they have always been here, so I don't know how old they are. They had 2 babies this spring; one disappeared already. Last night we had a bad, heavy thunderstorm all evening and off/on into the night. Around 2:00 am, we heard the geese honking up a storm right off our dock. They were going nuts. Got our flashlight and found the baby stuck in some pond weed near our bulkhead, with no dry ground that it could reach. We decided to try to get it unstuck, but during the process, the geese stopped honking and swam back to the other end of the lake where they normally hang out, leaving baby behind. Baby was exhausted, back completely submerged in water. No way could it swim after them. We scooped it up, brought it inside, blow dried it off and put it on a heating pad. About 4:00 am, I heard a goose out back honking, apparently came back to look for it. Poor thing! This morning, baby was fine and hissing at us.

Now we are at the point of what to do!
1. Do we return it ASAP (now) to his flock?
OR
2. Do we raise him until he is bigger (fully feathered out), with the goal of him joining his flock again?

If we do #1..... I am afraid he will just die like all the others have. They have never successfully raised any babies the whole time I have lived here. We are on a lake with big mouth bass, lots of hawks. The natural lake edge is about 50 % bulkheads, 25% steep erosion, with only 10-20% left of possibilities for them to safely roost. So not a very baby friendly lake! Do I take my chances anyways???

If we do #2.... Will his flock accept him back when the time comes?? Will he be too imprinted on us? Willl he properly know how to hunt and act like a goose to survive with the others? Am afraid to mess with mother nature, don't want to ruin him!

What should I do?
I would build them a floating nest with a cover tie it to a dock
 

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