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Runaway goslings

 
Michael Yates
Posts: 8
Location: Southwestern Virginia
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I have two mated pairs of American Buff geese. One goose built her nest and began laying, followed about three weeks later by the second one.. I pulled the first few eggs and allowed each of them to go broody as they filled their nests. The ganders were very diligent in guarding the broody geese. Everything was going perfectly I was so happy with these geese. One goose went broody two weeks before the other.
Two days ago six healthy goslings emerged and one happy family seemed to be doing great. Then, yesterday I could find no goslings. Mom and Dad were there as usual, but no babies. I searched and found nothing. I was thinking hawk, owl as I found no sign of struggle. Then I went to check the second broody goose and she was sitting with her wings in a odd position. There were all six of the goslings. I eased past the gander watchdog and recovered the six and placed them back with their mother/father. They seemed contented the rest of the day.
This morning all six were back with the broody goose. Has anyone had this happen to them? Every player in this scenario seems content (except myself). I am afraid if I allow the goslings to take up residence with the foster mom she will leave her eggs thinking this is her babies.
I really would like to keep them free range and not pen them, but that may be the only solution. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Mike
 
Ann Torrence
steward
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Can you get the sloppy mother to set on the remaining eggs? I've heard of this before, where one goose is a good brooder and the other does the mothering.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Michael,

Thanks for such an interesting account. I wish I had started joining the animal forums sooner, as it bring back such fond memories of my first career.

This is not an terribly common behavior, yet as you can tell it does happen. Do you know if the the two goose are sisters, and perhaps the ganders brothers? If a group is related or raise together it is not uncommon for there to be communal care of neonate, and both brooding of eggs as well. If the second does leave the eggs she is currently brooding, I would suggest an incubator to "finish them off," then return the goslings to the family unit.

Communal nesting can be successful and it can also be ineffective. Segregation and pening separately in the future maybe your only option. I also would be cautious if you have a heavy predator population and not leave them exposed to attack at night. They should be nightly shuttered in a predator proof roost.

Regards,

j
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I found in my years keeping geese that if there is more than one nest going on, by the time the babies are all hatched out and a few days old, raising them becomes a group endeavor, with all the adult geese surrounding and watching the babies, and the babies getting all mixed together and dispersing up under whichever "mom" on cold nights. It's a pretty successful strategy, as compared to, say, chickens, where each batch of chicks stays devotedly with their own mother, and are more likely to get lost, snatched by some critter, etc. But I never recall babies going up under a mom that was still on eggs. I would find some way to isolate them till the other eggs hatch at least.....
 
Michael Yates
Posts: 8
Location: Southwestern Virginia
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Ann, Jay and Alder,

Thanks for the replies. If babies are still going to setting goose this afternoon, I think I will pen the family until the other eggs hatch.

Jay,
I do not know if they are related. I purchased them from a gentlemen who had suffered a stroke and was unable to care for his flock. His wife did tell me they came from Ideal hatchery three years ago. so I suppose they could be siblings.

Thanks,
Mike
 
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