What to do with newly laid eggs - Help a new guy please!

Discussion in 'Geese' started by etruscan, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. etruscan

    etruscan Hatching

    Jul 14, 2010
    Hi there,

    Long time lurker here, since shortly after we got our first pair of geese last summer. Love these geese ( now have 4, two male pilgrims, two female embdens ) and my wife and I are suuuuuper excited that they finally started laying. We thought for sure one of the females was too old to lay, but two eggs appeared in one day, so we're assuming both are laying. Nice surprise.

    So, now that they've started laying eggs, Id like some advice on what to do. Here are some relevant details: I live in Terrace BC, where the weather has juuuust recent started staying above zero for days at a time. Pretty much on queue the girls started laying. One egg, then two days later, two more eggs. They spend all day ( from 8:30am till 8:30pm ) in our yard, dorking around wherever they like, usually in the ornamental cedar hedges where they've eaten alot of bark off the lower limbs and seem to enjoy spending time. At night, they go into a covered run where they have two nesting boxes which to the best of my knowledge, they never use even tho they seem quite comfy by my standards. I have two more boxes out in their yard, but again, they never use them. The day after Scarlett laid her first egg, i noticed them spending alot of time in the hedges, and when i went to look they were building a nice little nest atop the snow with twigs from the cedar hedges! Pretty cool, i thought. I took out some hay, dumped it near by and sure enough they arranged it into a nest shape ( more or less, it was kinda wonky ) and laid two more eggs that day !! I was pretty thrilled, as you can imagine. So since i'd brought the first egg in the house ( it had been laid in a muddy puddle two days before, silly goose ), i brought it back out and put it with the two others. Instead of bringing the geese in that night, I figured i would leave them out all night, so they could mind their eggs if they wanted. I kept a vague eye on them most of the night, and to the best of my knowledge they didnt go near the nest at all.

    Next day, round noon i checked on the nest and i was saddened to see one of the eggs was broken open. The other two were still untouched, but the broken one was empty. I couldnt see well, as the hay was wet and the egg sortof on its side, but there wasnt any obvious sign that it had just gotten broken and left - im pretty sure the contents had been eaten. I brought it inside, noting that the shell seemed pretty thin, although i have no clue if thats normal or not ( thinner than a chicken egg for sure, but not weirdly thin )...

    SO.. Im assuming that despite my geese getting all the food they want, including pretty regular heaps of cast off-greens from the grocery store since theres snow everywhere, that that egg was eaten. Either by the geese, or a predator. i kindof assumed that if it was a predator ALL the eggs would be gone, or at least disturbed, so.. i dont know. Im not worrying about it for now, unless i see more eggs broken. Then ill definitely bring them in as they are laid and incubate them.

    The *main* thing im wondering is - Do i leave them be, out in the wet and cold and assume once the geese have a clutch they will sit on them ? Or should i move them to a nest box that will keep them dry, but still available to the geese to sit on if they wish/when they go broody ? I have no idea if the eggs are OK out there, sitting in wet/cold straw ( the worst of the winter is over here, but it could easily dip below zero at night.. wont that kill the un-sat upon eggs??? ) and I really, really would like them to hatch au naturel.. but if they're just going to get frozen/broken/killed then i might as well save them and use an incubator.

    I'd reaaaally appreciate it if anyone with experience could wade through my message and give me some advice. Although i've had my geese since last summer and dont consider myself a total 'noob', I have never been through this and dont know anyone locally that have geese. I've read here that the first bunch of eggs are often unfertile, so im not so heartbroken one was eaten/broken/lost, but if fertility depends on how much mating as been going on.. woo.. they should be good. Our 'alpha male' goose is coooonstantly on the others ( yes, even his male buddy 'klaus' - they all three of them have feathers missing from the back of their heads ) since mating season has started, so i have high hopes.

    Thanks very much in advance if anyone can spare the time and effort to lend some advice. Im really trying to 'let nature run its course' but i also really, really want some goslings from my geese !

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  2. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Crowing

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I have no idea about geese, but I would assume they would be the same with chickens, they have to go "broody" before they will sit and hatch their own eggs. My bet would be to bring them in as they are laid and incubate them.

    Just my wild guess! Hopefully someone will come along soon that knows! [​IMG]
  3. goosedragon

    goosedragon Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    A goose egg shell should NOT be thiner than a chicken egg. First eggs are often messed up, and thin egg shells are not uncommon. One of the geese probably stepped on it and it broke and the contents may have just leaked away. If you want to try your hand at incubation. Leave one egg in the nest to encourage the goose to lay there and take the next egg for incubation (I'll bet you have a lower hatch rate than your birds do) allow eggs to build up in the nest if you want the geese to hatch them, most won't go brooddy on only one egg. When stealing eggs later in the season try to steal the earliest eggs laid (I mark mine with a comon #2 pencil simple date and goose if it makes any difference to you. I would candle the incubated eggs after 10 days people that are good at candling say 7 days but I always have a hard time candling goose eggs, thick shells and the fact that the eggs are so large takes a strong light to see through them. You can try to get to get the goose to use a better nest. Mine always stuck with the one they built themselves...
    Ok I checked your post and the only thing un answered is the cold / wet thing. They are WATERFOWL eggs cold/wet is natural to them. They should not be allowed to set in standing water. If they are freezing so that they crack that is too cold. Good luck with them.

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