The Goose Club 2006 and Svenska Rasfjaderfaforbundets:
The confinement of a beginner goose keeper.
THE CONEFINEMENT OF A BEGINNER GOOSE KEEPER.
It was so exiting those last days: should we get goslings? A Belgian friend who definitely went crazy from all my phone calls with questions said: You’re in joyful anticipation and he was right.
It was so wonderful to see how our Carmen took care of her eggs, how she covered them with straw and down when she went off for a minute or ten to eat, drink or to take a bath. It seemed like Carmen had a clock inside of her body because she knew exactly how long she could stay off her nest. After those ten minutes she walked in a special way back to her nest and I could tell if she went back to her nest or not.
Saturday; day 28th it became even more exciting although some friends had told me it could last until day 31st but if it were “fresh” eggs they would hatch probably earlier. Of course I was very alert that 28th day and when Carmen went of her nest in the afternoon to take a bath I didn’t know how quickly I could get into the barn to check her eggs. Yes! One egg with a hole in it so it wouldn’t take that long any more.
Sunday morning I got out of my bed very early to check on Carmen and her eggs. Unfortunately nothing to see or hear yet so I didn’t disturb Carmen. An hour later I went back again and oh boy something was wrong over there. Alicia who wasn’t broody had pushed Carmen of her nest and Alicia sat on Carmen her eggs. Poor Carmen sat next to her and looked at me as if she would tell me: I’ve sat on them for weeks, done all the work and now Alicia takes my children away. I couldn’t allow that of course so I put on some gloves, our Alicia isn’t the most friendly one when she’s on a nest and very stubborn so I had to be careful not to damage the eggs/goslings. I carefully took Alicia of the nest and she protested loudly and tried to bite me and put her outside the barn. Carmen didn’t know how quickly she had to clime back on her nest and………...just before she sat down I saw a little head and heard some small peeping. Yes we had a gosling! After that I put some wiring in front of the nest and made a kind of maternity room in the back of Carmen her nest so Alicia couldn’t borrow her anymore.
Every now and then I went to check on her to see if more goslings had hatched. It’s so wonderful how tame Carmen is because she didn’t mind that I was sitting on my knees in front of her nest. I’ve been on my knees in front of that nest for hours I think with the photo camera in my hand and on the other side, behind the wiring, the other geese also waited in suspense. As I sat on my knees I regularly asked Carmen: “Carmen please stand up I can’t see anything” and then she looked at me with her head a bit slant and she would stand up so I could see if some more goslings had hatched. I even saw them even all wet and that at a 20 to 30 cm distance. Carmen was oke with it that I was so close by. She trusted me completely.
The confinement went well and I have enjoyed it very much. Carmen had five beautiful and healthy goslings that year. Also so beautiful to see was that she cleaned up the egg shells herself by….eating them. After a few days I could let the other geese with them and all the other geese “played” foster parents.
Although the confinement went very well we didn’t let our geese breed themselves the years after. I was so shocked how many weight the geese had lost after sitting on a nest for four weeks although they did get room service from me so I knew they ate enough. The year after we bought a hatching machine. Our geese didn’t like it when I collected the eggs the first year but now they don’t mind anymore. Our ladies know they get their goslings when they are about two to three weeks of age. We raise them inside our house the first couple of weeks and after that their parents learn them the “goose stuff”. The advantage of raising the goslings yourself the first weeks is that they become extremely tame and friendly for humans. The reason we started breeding is that the two breeds we have are endangered breeds which we hope to keep alive but mainly our geese stay “pets” for us. They belong to our family same as our cats.
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