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New Parents To Abandoned Baby Gosling, All Advice Appreciated!  RSS feed

 
dave angelo
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Hi all!  My wife and I rescued a baby geese from our backyard 9 days ago.  The little guy/girl seems to be doing alot better since finding her pretty close to death, stiff, cold and not moving.  We had to warm her for about 4 hours before she was able to move and swallow a few drops of sugar water from a syringe.  After 5 hours, she was moving around a little.  I have her on unmedicated starter chic feed, tiny amount of niacin in water with a few drops of apple cider vinegar for her runny nose.  Is it normal for baby geese to have runny noses?  Just clear discharge.  She doesn't eat alot but she's now drinking enough water to satisfy me.  From what I've read online, geese are supposed to eat alot.  Are there any vitamins that I should be giving her to help get her healthier?  She's so precious and she chirps/flutters all the time!  Even when sleeping, is this normal?  When I say chirps all the time, I really mean all the time.  I feel this cannot be healthy.  I let her swim in the tub for about 5 minutes each day but no longer than 5 because I think she tires out quickly.  Her frame seems so fragile, she appears to be getting heavier underneath but when I rub her top area I feel bones, is this normal?  I really want to fatten her up.  She poops alot too, I'm ready to buy diapers for her.LOL   Sorry if this is too long, just want to get a few answers so we can give her the best chance possible after rehabilitating her. 

Thanks,
Dave
 
Marissa Creston
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Location: Flathead, Montana
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Are you keeping her in the brooder all alone? That could explain the constant peeping. And might explain, in part, her failure to thrive. If so, could you find her a companion? A duckling would be a good substitute and they are readily available at the feed stores right now. As for food, the starter mix should be adequate, but you will want to add some greens into her diet. Geese are primarily grazers so that would be a more natural and nutritious diet. As for swimming, you should keep her out of the water until she feathers out. (Goslings do not produce their own oils; they rely on their mothers to coat them.) She may enjoy the water, but a wet gosling is a chilled gosling. And that could explain the runny nose and lethargy.
 
dave angelo
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Hi Marissa, thank you for the reply.  Yes we keep her in a brooder in the middle of our living room with a heat lamp.  She does get quiet after being deeply asleep if there is noise around her such as talking or the tv playing.  We leave it on for her for about 2 hours after we've gone to bed to help calm her.  The peeping, as you call it, is continuous even when we're holding her until she begins to drift off to sleep, then it turns into a quieter peeping/fluttering sound until she's deeply asleep.  Then once she opens her eyes she begins again.  She doesn't look stressed when she's making the noise I just want to make sure this is normal.  Anytime we pick her up she gets so excited and starts climbing on our chests to snuggle on our necks, that's when the peeping is the loudest.  She's such a sweet little thing.  Now about the duck, which is something we may consider.  I believe I found this goslings sibling in the bushes 2 days ago, the parents just left it there and walked away.  I thought it was strange that they didn't attack me for going to check on it and when I did they were far across the yards.  I scooped up the little fella and thought I'd help save him too but apparently the little guy was ill which is probably why he was left, but we couldn't save him and he died about 3 hours later.  We ended up speaking with a rehabber who told us it sounded like it was poisoned by what it ate.  He was so cute and healthy looking.   I tell you that little guy made a grown man cry and I really wanted to save him too.  Didn't realize that some of these lttle creatures need our help until recently.  Because of this, my wife and I will be training to become rehabbers ourselves.  We do let the little gosling roam around the house during the day and she goes everywhere with us at the moment.  We have doctor appointments today and I think we' ll probably miss her more than she'll miss us but it's good to know geese and ducks get along well together.  We went to a feed store to get her food and supplies and they had ducks there that almost looked just like her.  I don't ever want her feeling lonely.  We'll keep her out of the water for now.  She likes putting her whole face in her outside water bowl, is that ok?  We tried to get her to eat grass but she's not having it....yet.  Should she know how to pull the grass herself?  Vitamins needed?  Sorry so long....thanks!
 
Marissa Creston
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Location: Flathead, Montana
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Sorry to hear about the sibling

It's hard to know without a recording of the actual vocalization, but a distressed gosling will peep loudly and constantly.

How warm do you keep your home? And does she have free access to a heat lamp? Generally, it is recommended to keep the warming area for goslings at 90F for the first week, 85F for the second week, 80F for the third week, and so on until they have acclimated to ambient temperatures.

The water dish should be deep enough for her to submerge her bill in it. Geese tend to be messy feeders (although less so than ducks!), so they need a lot of water to clean out their bills. If her whole head fits in, that is fine as well. That should help her keep her face, and notably her eyes, clean.

I should have mentioned that you will need to cut the greens into tiny pieces. Geese normally feed by tearing at the grass, cutting it with the serrations on their bills and tongues, but if the blades are not firmly attached to the roots, they will not have any leverage to do so. As for the feed, there ought to be plenty of vitamins in the starter mix. And she will get plenty more as she transitions to a more natural diet. As long as she has access to many food sources, she should have the instincts to pick the correct balance. Just keep her away from the scratch grains! That is just goose candy
 
Denise Kersting
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Location: South Central PA
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Hi  thank you for caring for an orphaned baby goose! I just wanted to warn you of one possible problem with "chick food" which is angel wing. When I took over feeding for a group of mallards, I was able to find a game bird starter at tractor supply. I'm not sure if you are wanting or able to find that type of feed, but I will caution that a diet with the wrong protein levels etc can harm the gosling. Angel wing causes the flight feathers to grow faster and "stick up" and the bird cannot then fly or is very limited. You can easily run a google search on "angel wing" and you'll find a ton of info, but here's a snippet:
"You can easily prevent angel wing by not feeding your waterfowl high protein, high energy rations. Once the birds reach two weeks of age, feed them a ration having no more than 16 percent protein. If you notice that a bird’s wing is starting to twist outward, you can often correct the situation by switching to a diet of alfalfa pellets (available from most farm stores). Free ranging young waterfowl where they can graze on improved pasture is another good way to keep them from developing angel wing.
While a duck or goose is still young, angel wing usually can be corrected by using vet wrap to secure the last two joints of the wing for 4 or 5 days. The wrap will hold the feathers in proper position and help the wing grow in the right direction until the wrist joint becomes strong enough to support feather growth. To prevent binding as the wing grows, and to allow the bird to exercise its wing muscles, remove the vet wrap each evening and reapply it in the morning. The wing joint will be fully developed and able to support the wing properly by the time the bird reaches 16 weeks of age, after which a duck or goose is no longer in danger of developing angel wing."
While the wild game bird stuff I bought wasn't cheap, I'm sure there is a recipe out there to mimic it for much less, I just didn't have the extra time to look into it, but you may want to look into the condition, and see if your feed might potentially cause the condition. I wish you the best of luck in trying to raise a gosling. Only reason I mention it, is because someone "dropped off" a pair of lame farm ducks to the pond at the edge of my property, one has angel wing, and the other has a hurt leg (she hobbles). The girl managed to migrate with a pack of mallards last year, and the angel wing boy was stuck here all winter since he cannot fly well. She came back, but it would have been nice if they could move as a pair.
 
Marissa Creston
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Location: Flathead, Montana
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Good point about angel wing. However game bird feed generally has even more protein and energy than chicken starter feed. Most game bird feeds are around 22% - 24% protein and game bird starter feeds can be as high as 30% protein while most chicken starter feeds are around 18% - 20% protein. I have had good results starting my ducklings and goslings on "flock raiser" feed (18% protein crumbles) then switching them to an "all flock" feed (16% protein crumbles) at five or six weeks, once their growth rate has slowed and they have mostly feathered out. And, of course, I supplement their diet with fresh greens. Goslings love dandelions in particular. Anyhow, good luck with it! I'm sure with your care she will be just fine
 
Liz Hoxie
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Geese "talk" constantly, even while eating. They also poop constantly. Thinking of them as fertilizer packets helps. Yes, they always feel bony from the top.
I second the idea of a companion. Geese are very family oriented. The bigger the "family" the better.
 
dave angelo
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Hi ladies, thanks so much for all your advice.  My husband and I really appreciate it.  Just to update everyone, the baby seems to be doing much better.  Her peeping has quieted down a great bit, atleast to where she doesn't sound alarming.  She's eating more frequently now but it's only the chick starter and not the cut grass we lay out for her.  I've even tried the grass in water but she will only drink the grass water and won't eat the grass.  She actually acts as though the grass in her mouth bothers her.  Too bad this temporary mother can't get down on her knees to show her how it's done! LOL!  When we take her outside on the lawn she seems to really love it to where she'll take off after us in a very fast motion. (I'm sure there's a name for that)  She will try and put the lawn grass in her mouth but I guess she still doesn't know how to pluck the grass from the stem.  Any suggestions with this?  Her poop is very frequent so I guess she's getting enough food in her.  She now will lead us around instead of following all the time, that's new.  She has become really comfortable in her brooder now and will get really cozy between the stuffed animals we've placed in it.  She poops up everything and we wash her linen and stuffed animals daily.  We will try to find the flock raiser feed and a pal for her today along with a water tray that she can dip her beak in all the way, she seems to like doing that.  Her nose is less runny but there's still some water discharge especially noticed when she shakes her head.  When holding her now, she quickly crawls to our shoulders and one night she jumped off on to the couch so now we have to be very careful when we're not on the floor with her.  I think that's another good sign of strength coming from her.  She also now runs to us with her beak opened as if she's charging!(See Pic)  She is so cute when she does this.  She also pecks at our feet and will sit down by them after roaming around the same area.  Her peeping only gets loud when she can't see us, she'll stretch her little neck up and he head begins twisting from left to right just trying to see where we've gone.  Her lower belly seems to be getting bigger and that makes us very happy, a BIG difference from when we found her. (See Pic)   Does anyone use duck/geese diapers?  If so, do they really work well?  We really love holding her but since she's now like a faucet that won't turn off, we often hesitate before grabbing the geese holding towel!   I will continue to keep you all updated, thank you again for all of your knowledgeable information.

Angelo
Baby-Sunshine-1.jpg
[Thumbnail for Baby-Sunshine-1.jpg]
 
dave angelo
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Here's the other pic that didn't attach with the first one!
Baby-Sunshine.jpg
[Thumbnail for Baby-Sunshine.jpg]
 
Liz Hoxie
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Congratulations! 🎉She now thinks of you as "family"! In the goose world, the "leader" tends to be at the back. It is now time to start gentle discipline. Whenever she does something that displeases you, hiss at her. If she continues, give her a sharp rap on the head. The adult geese do this to kids that don't mind.

She's running at you with her mouth open because she is practicing charging. She knows you're safe and won't challenge her. She needs to learn that she isn't always in charge. It won't break her spirit; I think it makes them feel more secure. As long as we don't abuse the privelage, everybody wins.
Have the baby vent sexed. There are videos on YouTube. If it's a gander (male), you need to get a handle on discipline now. Adult geese can do serious damage! Don't get me wrong, I love my geese, but they know that they're not MY boss.
 
dave angelo
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Thanks Liz.  So the charging is a no, no?  Won't she need this type of temperament when she returns to the wild?  She just looks so cute when she does it!  I guess I'll be brave and go get started on practicing my hissing.  

Thanks again,
Angelo
 
Liz Hoxie
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From the looks of her, I'd say she is a domestic goose. Even if she's a wild goose breed, she probably wouldn't survive. Geese don't get tame like dogs. I've had mine for over 3 years, they trust me, I'm allowed to visit with them, they come up to me, they stay calm if I have to pick them up, but if I try to pet them, they move away. But if I expected them to survive on their own, they'd be dead within a year. An animal needs more than instinct to survive in the wild. Their parents teach them a lot.

Yes, charging is a no-no. All you have to do is stand up and start walking towards her. SHE has to be the one to turn away. Don't stop when she starts backing away. Geese are bullies, and if you call their bluff, they usually back down. Make eye contact until SHE ends back. Yes, she may need to charge at something later, you're just teaching her that she shouldn't charge YOU.
 
Denise Kersting
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Marissa Creston wrote:Good point about angel wing. However game bird feed generally has even more protein and energy than chicken starter feed. Most game bird feeds are around 22% - 24% protein and game bird starter feeds can be as high as 30% protein while most chicken starter feeds are around 18% - 20% protein. I have had good results starting my ducklings and goslings on "flock raiser" feed (18% protein crumbles) then switching them to an "all flock" feed (16% protein crumbles) at five or six weeks, once their growth rate has slowed and they have mostly feathered out. And, of course, I supplement their diet with fresh greens. Goslings love dandelions in particular. Anyhow, good luck with it! I'm sure with your care she will be just fine
Thank you for setting me straight, I checked the type I think I had bought and you are absolutely correct, I feel foolish for not checking the percentages, I went off the description that said it was specifically for geese and other "wild birds" and assumed it was the correct amount for their feed. What I don't understand is why a product would be marketed as such that could cause harm to the bird? I'm thankful the mallards I raised on it were fine, I only supplemented with it, and I'm glad that you have provided more accurate information to the OP. Thank You!
 
Marissa Creston
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I went off the description that said it was specifically for geese and other "wild birds" and assumed it was the correct amount for their feed. What I don't understand is why a product would be marketed as such that could cause harm to the bird?


Not to worry Advertising can be very deceptive. It gets us all sometimes. Last summer, I bought a new gardening hat. I didn't bother to read the label because it was just a hat. Unfortunately, obvious isn't obvious anymore. That hat came treated with permethrin!

According to the current theory, angel wing is caused by a combination of genetics and diet, specifically an excess of carbohydrates and proteins coupled with a deficiency of vitamin D, vitamin E, and manganese. Pure speculation, but perhaps the high protein levels are not problematic as long as the feed is heavily fortified with those vitamins and minerals. Anyhow, if you remember the brand, it would be interesting to know their take on it.
 
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