Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Here we go again

Another year and more goslings, but this time they managed to do it properly!

We collected the first few eggs after our geese, Lola and Amelia, started laying in mid-February, and after that left them in the nests they had made in the frames left in their stall.

Over Easter they started sitting, and I moved a drinker near to the stall, so they wouldn't have too far to go for food or water. I wasn't overly confident that the sitting would be successful. None of last year's eggs had been fertile, and the one time I saw Amos, our gander, doing what ganders are supposed to do, he seemed to be making a fearful hash of it.

I was able, after about 2 weeks to candle 3 of the eggs whilst the geese were having a short break for food and water, and they did seem to be fertile, although as I was only using a small pocket torch, it was very hard to be sure.

The expected hatching date, 4th March, came, and although there was no sign of any goslings, Amos' behaviour changed. During the sitting, he wandered around the paddock, looking somewhat lost, and although he would hiss if I approached the stall while he was there, it was more of a greeting than a threat. However, from 4th March, he would not leave the stall, but stood guard at the door, and making serious threatening noises and moves at any approach.

Then, yesterday morning, when I opened the stall for the geese, I was sure I could hear a "peep peep peep" under the hissing of the adult birds. And when I checked later that afternoon, sure enough, there was a little bundle of yellow fluff!

I was able to get close enough this morning to count 8 goslings. They were all in Lola's nest. We still may get some from Amelia, but I suspect that either she was a less attentive sitter (and she did seem to be up and about far more than Lola), or Amos restricted his attentions to one bird.

Eight goslings is probably too many for the amount of land we have (although it would save on the lawn mowing!), and I'll probably try and sell half of them when they're a little older.