The goose trailer is like a flaming soap opera at the moment.
Five eggs hurled out of the nest today, two remaining. Presumably something wrong with them.* I put them in a food bowl in the trailer (nothing was happening hatching-wise) chased Goosey off her nest and looked at the two eggs. One gosling had pipped its external shell while the other was intact, but both were squeaking.
There was a terrible smell in the trailer. I’m not sure it was death exactly; more an olfactory unpleasantness, with putrefaction possibly playing a role. I can still smell it in my hair.
The silly brainless goose (whom Himself’s son has called Hooter) strolled up to the eggs in the bowl. She messed with them for a minute or so, and had a short ‘conversation’ with Goosey who got off her nest and went outside. Hooter sat on the nest.
Half an hour later two eggs were on the trailer door: the live gosling eggs.
I put them back in the nest, shooed Hooter away and made Goosey come in. It would be a shame to lose them at such a late stage.
From there The Fear set in. Should I have taken them off Goosey and incubated them? Or let her look after them herself. From now she only has up to around 24 hours left to keep the eggs warm, and I’m sure she’ll love them when they’re hatched. But now I’m uncertain that I can trust her to look after them till they’re out.
I am also afraid that either Gander or Hooter might harm the goslings once they’re hatched. Hooter has already had a go, after all. And I found egg shell stained with yellow yolk and a smudge of blood outside the trailer. Who knows what happened to that one?
A reluctant optimist, I covered every airhole and the space above the rear door with chickenwire, cable ties and binder twine holding it down. I kicked out Gander and Hooter and closed the trailer door.
Those two can stop out till the eggs hatch. It seems a bit mean on Gander and I was hoping he would help protect the goslings, but I can’t be sure what he will do. I’d rather he met them in a relatively controlled environment. Male geese do kill offspring that isn’t theirs, and although they are definitely all Gander’s, I don’t know how he can know. What if he gets it wrong and thinks that some of them aren’t his?
Himself and son put an old trailer canopy out for Hooter and Gander for a bit of protection, and the weather’s not too awful at the moment. They’re inside the geese compound too, which we fox-proofed a couple of years ago.
With the door shut, the nesting geese are kept together, without distractions (wandering off is pointless in a 6 x 8 foot trailer) and Hooter’s loose wires won’t affect the hatchlings. (She probably put the eggs out because she was uncomfortable on the nest with them there. Brainless, see?! Why did she think the other two were sitting on their nests?). My plan is to keep the two Mama Geese in the trailer until the goslings are old enough to go outside without getting cold, then use the large goose (chickenwire) coop we made last year (and only used for about a week). I’ll give it a wire roof to protect them from the sparrowhawks and crows, and fix it to the trailer so they can be indoors or out as they please.Let’s hope there are new goslings in the morning. The sooner the better. *We looked inside the shells; three were infertile, one was rotten, and one contained a dead gosling.