Friday, 28 March 2008

Lola's moved her nest, and she ain't shifting!

Well, I said I'd wait until I had the goose eggs in the incubator before I encouraged Lola to to use a nest in her stall. Turns out she needs no encouragement, and that she was not prepared to wait.

When I went to let her out yesterday morning, she was sat firmly on a nest she had made out of her own bedding straw and feathers, and she was not coming out. I left her to it, having made sure she was secure and had fresh water.

I checked on her at midday, and she was still there. What's more, Amelia had also laid an egg, although she doesn't seem to have the same nesting instinct, and her egg had been left in the middle of the floor.

Taking my life in my hands, I walked very slowly into the stall, picked up Amelia's egg, and then moved even more slowly and cautiously towards Lola's nest, and very gently placed the egg in the nest. Lola hissed, shifted a wing, and rolled the egg in next to the other.

Encouraged by my success, I collect two eggs from those I had been setting aside for the incubator, and succeeded in persuading her to adopt these as well.

We had a squally and windy day today, but Lola has only left the nest 2 or 3 times for water. All the signs are that she'll stick out the (28 day) course.

There's no guarantee that any of the 4 eggs she's sitting on are fertile, but fingers crossed. A mother goose with her offspring would be such a thrill.

Friday, 7 March 2008

A Nest in the Veggie Patch

This is Lola, one of our two West of England Geese. She started laying in Mid-February, usually in her stall before I release her in the morning, but she has now made herself a proper nest, in a corner of our vegetable garden.

Her chosen spot is in an area which had become somewhat overgrown last Autumn. Mo had killed the grass which had grown up, and the next step would have been to clear the dead grass away, preparatory to tilling the ground ready for planting.

But Lola thinks all that dead grass is perfect for a nest. What's more, we have wind break netting along the side of the plot, so she's nice and sheltered from the prevailing westerlies.

When she's laid her egg (and she lays one once every other day), she spends half an hour or so carefully covering it with more dead grass, before wandering off to join Amelia, our other West of England, and Amos, our gander.

It would be nice to leave the eggs there, and let her sit on them when she feels she has a big enough clutch. But we get foxes in our garden every night, and she would be killed for certain if we didn't put her away in her stall every night.

I'll be putting 40 odd Leghorn eggs in the incubator on Monday, and after they hatch at the beginning of April, I'll put a clutch of Lola's and Amelia's eggs in. Once those eggs are in the incubator, I'll try and encourage Lola to use a nest I've built for her in her stall. If she does, I'll leave the eggs there and see if she will hatch them out.