Your Goose Suddenly Appears Sick – Reproductive Problems

Iain Utah

Crowing
8 Years
Dec 17, 2011
7,409
776
321
This thread is to discuss and share the experiences we have had with reproductive problems in geese so hopefully when someone deals with this for the first time, they will know what to look for and how to treat their geese.

Since I have a fairly large flock with approximately 20 female geese, I have dealt with a few different problems. I am fortunate to have a dear friend who is a certified avian veterinarian with a special interest in waterfowl. So, I have learned a lot from an expert and hope to share what I can. By no means have I seen a lot of scenarios, but hope that others will chime in.

In my experience there are two basic types of problems. Either a hard egg gets stuck inside reproductive tract or in the process of creating the egg, the hard calcium shell is not applied causing a soft egg to be laid, sometimes breaking inside of goose.

In the case of a hard shell getting stuck inside of goose, if close enough towards vent, one might be able to lubricate and assist with removal of egg. Otherwise, surgery by a qualified vet is the only way to save a goose that becomes egg bound. What to look for: off food, drinking more, pacing, panting, going to nest and acting like want to lay an egg, getting up and returning shortly to repeat. Prognosis is not so good with egg bound geese. I had a goose become egg bound once and she passed away within 12 hours of appearing off. Blood trickled from her vent after passing, causing my vet to conclude she ruptured something when attempting to pass the egg.

If the goose lays soft shells, check for any source of stress or lack or calcium and eliminate those reasons for soft eggs. If goose lays more than 3 in a row, then you need to disrupt laying cycle by removing her from routine for at least 3-4 days. The best is to relocate her from “home” and/or isolate her from group. This will usually shut down the laying cycle and allow her system to “reboot”.

If the soft shelled egg is broken inside of goose, there is hope without surgery. The best course is fluids. Hopefully, the goose instinctively wants to drink more but offering fresh water or placing in bath can help. Attempt to keep the goose quiet and calm. If the goose recovers within 48 hours, disrupt her laying cycle. Things to look for: goose looks sick, is usually off by herself away from group, head bent so that botton of beak touching chest, off food, wet sticky vent.

Stress

Stress can trigger all sorts of problems, from laying soft shelled eggs to becoming egg bound (hard egg gets stuck in reproductive tract).

Certain breeds are more sensitive than others, but it is important that geese have a quiet environment and a hideaway place away from human or flock traffic to build a nest and lay without being disturbed.

Calcium

Egg shells are made of almost entirely pure calcium, so it takes a lot out of a goose to lay an egg. It is important to supplement a laying goose's diet with calcium, whether it is a layer feed, oystershell, crushed eggshells, or other good food source of calcium.

Metabolic Glitch

Sometimes, despite no obvious stress and good calcium intake, a goose will get a metabolic glitch in the reproductive system causing egg laying problems.

Early Disease

According to my vet, up to 30% of domesticated waterfowl develop reproductive disease. It can be a slow progression, but usually the only solution is surgery.
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,905
655
296
Australia
Interesting, especially about the percentage that develop reproductive disease. Odd!

This I think is a great bit of info and I will tell those with chickens who have reproductive issues necessitating cessation of laying:

Quote: Really, this should have occurred to me anyway, but who thinks of doing that with a hen needing a break from laying for medical reasons? All we ever did was tweak the diet and hope it worked, LOL!

Thanks. Best wishes.
 

livininbrazil

Songster
7 Years
Dec 17, 2012
4,357
192
238
São Paulo State, Brazil.
Interesting, especially about the percentage that develop reproductive disease. Odd!
that´s what I thought, but then I wonder if it depends largely on the breed? As some breeds aren´t a great deal different to the wild greylag geese, maybe they´d get fewer difficulties?
This thread is to discuss and share the experiences we have had with reproductive problems in geese so hopefully when someone deals with this for the first time, they will know what to look for and how to treat their geese.

Since I have a fairly large flock with approximately 20 female geese, I have dealt with a few different problems. I am fortunate to have a dear friend who is a certified avian veterinarian with a special interest in waterfowl. So, I have learned a lot from an expert and hope to share what I can. By no means have I seen a lot of scenarios, but hope that others will chime in.

In my experience there are two basic types of problems. Either a hard egg gets stuck inside reproductive tract or in the process of creating the egg, the hard calcium shell is not applied causing a soft egg to be laid, sometimes breaking inside of goose.

In the case of a hard shell getting stuck inside of goose, if close enough towards vent, one might be able to lubricate and assist with removal of egg. Otherwise, surgery by a qualified vet is the only way to save a goose that becomes egg bound. What to look for: off food, drinking more, pacing, panting, going to nest and acting like want to lay an egg, getting up and returning shortly to repeat. Prognosis is not so good with egg bound geese. I had a goose become egg bound once and she passed away within 12 hours of appearing off. Blood trickled from her vent after passing, causing my vet to conclude she ruptured something when attempting to pass the egg.

If the goose lays soft shells, check for any source of stress or lack or calcium and eliminate those reasons for soft eggs. If goose lays more than 3 in a row, then you need to disrupt laying cycle by removing her from routine for at least 3-4 days. The best is to relocate her from “home” and/or isolate her from group. This will usually shut down the laying cycle and allow her system to “reboot”.

If the soft shelled egg is broken inside of goose, there is hope without surgery. The best course is fluids. Hopefully, the goose instinctively wants to drink more but offering fresh water or placing in bath can help. Attempt to keep the goose quiet and calm. If the goose recovers within 48 hours, disrupt her laying cycle. Things to look for: goose looks sick, is usually off by herself away from group, head bent so that botton of beak touching chest, off food, wet sticky vent.

Stress

Stress can trigger all sorts of problems, from laying soft shelled eggs to becoming egg bound (hard egg gets stuck in reproductive tract).

Certain breeds are more sensitive than others, but it is important that geese have a quiet environment and a hideaway place away from human or flock traffic to build a nest and lay without being disturbed.

Calcium

Egg shells are made of almost entirely pure calcium, so it takes a lot out of a goose to lay an egg. It is important to supplement a laying goose's diet with calcium, whether it is a layer feed, oystershell, crushed eggshells, or other good food source of calcium.

Metabolic Glitch

Sometimes, despite no obvious stress and good calcium intake, a goose will get a metabolic glitch in the reproductive system causing egg laying problems.

Early Disease

According to my vet, up to 30% of domesticated waterfowl develop reproductive disease. It can be a slow progression, but usually the only solution is surgery.
Great bit of info. J. thank you for sharing it.
 

Iain Utah

Crowing
8 Years
Dec 17, 2011
7,409
776
321
Thanks. I hope it will help others. My vet commented he sees it the most in Pekin ducks. He said there is a Facebook group he is in called reproductive problems in ducks. But he is seeing it more in geese.

As for shutting down system to stop laying soft eggs, it worked like a charm for my 2yo white African goose a few weeks ago.

I also had an episode early this season with one of my dewlaps. A Muscovy had decided to move in and take over her nest, causing my dewlap to lay 2 soft eggs. I removed the scovy and set up a nest for her elsewhere and my dewlap went back to laying good eggs right on schedule.
 

livininbrazil

Songster
7 Years
Dec 17, 2012
4,357
192
238
São Paulo State, Brazil.
Thanks. I hope it will help others. My vet commented he sees it the most in Pekin ducks. He said there is a Facebook group he is in called reproductive problems in ducks. But he is seeing it more in geese.

As for shutting down system to stop laying soft eggs, it worked like a charm for my 2yo white African goose a few weeks ago.

I also had an episode early this season with one of my dewlaps. A Muscovy had decided to move in and take over her nest, causing my dewlap to lay 2 soft eggs. I removed the scovy and set up a nest for her elsewhere and my dewlap went back to laying good eggs right on schedule.
Was that the bolshy one?
Sounds like you have it well sorted there now.
 

Iain Utah

Crowing
8 Years
Dec 17, 2011
7,409
776
321
Yep, it was the bolshy one. We convinced her to return to the horse property where she promptly went inside our garage and happily took over another scovy's nest.
 
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