Geese laying, but not staying

lfrj(7)February 24, 2007

This is our first go round with spring and the laying season. We've learned quite a lot since we first brought our day old goslings home a little less than a year ago! We now have a pair of 9 month old Brown chinese and two female Toulouse (2 months younger - unknown 4-sure).

We know that our Chinese female is laying and one of the Toulouse is either laying or mimicking the whole affair. The two queens have created nests in their container/home and one or both are filling them up with eggs. Our gander is doing his part (the boot-head lookin' swamp monster!). We forgive him his attitude. It's his job.

THe geese aren't sitting long though it seems to me - just toying with the notion, a couple hours or so a day and then off to other activities. For those who haven't tasted goose eggs, they're delicious! I hate for them to go to waste.

Should we let our team keep the eggs for now? Or wait and let them accumulate when the females are more serious about sitting long term?



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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Last year was my first spring with mature geese, so I'm not much more experienced than you are. I took the eggs right up until the girls went broody. I did have one marble nest egg (a joke my sister snuck into the nest) but when broodiness takes them, they set whether they have eggs or not.

Mine started laying on February 9 last year, which is far too early in our climate. They didn't go broody until mid-April. So we had a lot of goose eggs to use up... and yes, they are delicious!

What I did once spring arrived was to keep the most recent two dozen eggs in a cool room so they would be ready to be incubated when the geese went broody. As new eggs were laid, I removed and used the oldest ones. I used a pencil to mark the date and which goose laid the egg on each shell. (I could tell by the weight which were the Pilgrim's and which were the Buff's.) That way, I always had a supply of viable eggs ready for the geese when they went broody. It worked pretty well.

Don't be concerned about eating eggs that have been at room temperature for a week or more. They will be perfectly fine. It IS a good idea to crack them one at a time into a cup before adding them to whatever you are cooking, but I would be very surprised if you ended up with even one bad egg.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 9:03PM
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Thanks Maggie. We're dating them now with a pencil as you suggested. Say, any need to be concerned about whose is whose so as to replace them properly when the time comes? (Not sure if I can tell if I don't do it right away).

My guess is that it doesn't matter - I mean 'it takes a village' - right? On the other hand, if we should be marking them more closely, we'll do so. Wouldn't want anyone else around here suspect that they may have been switched at birth! (LOL)


    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:24AM
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mommagoose(z5 NY)

Hello. I have been keeping geese for about 10 years . I have toulouse and embdens. The first year the eggs may or may not be fertile. Usually ,the second year the eggs will hatch. I collect all but one egg everyday for the first 6 weeks because I have a market for goose eggs. I sell mine for 75c a piece. Then towards the end of June I let the girls set a batch of eggs. Mine usually do not hatch anything but they seem happy.
Good luck with your goosies. A goose will lay 45-60 eggs in a season. The sales will pay for their feed for a year. I feed Game bird crumbles and cracked corn two times a day while snow is covering the grass.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:55PM
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Hi Linda. Thanks for th advice...and yeah, I heard that my Gander may not be fully loaded this first year. But he's sure playing the part!

So, do you mind my asking how you found a market for Goose eggs? I like them and brought a couple in to a co-worker who was brave enough to try one. I think it was only a novelty though.

Do you supply them to a farmers market? Grocer? or just personally? Do you have a special permit? Hard for me to believe it would be worth wading through the red tape for, though .75 is a good price - considering that one goose egg = 2.5 hen eggs or better to my eye.

It would certainly be a niche market.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 6:28PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

LF, it doesn't really matter who get what eggs.

I mark mine because I have one American Buff goose and given the choice I will set only Pilgrim eggs because the Buff's goslings will be crossbred.

The Buff's eggs are heavier... I weigh them to separate hers. Last year it did not really matter because the gander was a mutt, but I was "practicing" for the future.

This year I want as many pretty little Pilgrims as my three girls can hatch. Last year my two geese raised their combined brood of seven and two purchased Pilgrim goslings as a group. Because we had culled the gander, the Buff goose took over the protector role and let the Pilgrim do the mothering. Sensible, but surprising.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 9:50PM
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bethw(z7 VA)

While there are always the exceptions, Chinese are not known to be very broody geese. I have two white Chinese females that lay eggs like gangbusters, but they do not set.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 10:58PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Broody hens will hatch eggs from non-setting geese. You must assume responsibility for turning them until the last few days and spritzing them with tepid water to increase the humidity... but one of my hens hatched and raised my first gosling. I set four eggs under a Speckled Sussex hen -- a large standard. That was about all I thought she could cover.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 6:23PM
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Good point Maggie!

Alas though, neither big Buffy nor little Buffy are ready to set either (Bereft of a roo, I still have plans for some chicken egg swapping just the same when they do get the inkling!).

As for our Chinese not going broody, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Right now, our Chinese gal will sit for about two or three hours then its off to play - and next thing you know - one of our Toulouse gals will hop aboard the same nest and take a second shift. Maybe they have something worked out.

I cleared the eggs out last weekend of Feb. This evening when we were able to get in there (this can be tricky with all of the birds so hormone drenched and touchy), we found TWELVE eggs in the same nest!

When one or the other of them DOES go broody, I wonder if there'll be some squabbling over the nest, if another will be built, or if we should stock up on cigars!

Not to forget, we have a 3rd toulouse female also. She doesn't have a suitor, but will probably want some space for herself soon too! What a circus. Hope after all the trouble our gander is not too young to be fertile. In the meantime, I've learned to make a mean quiche!


    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 8:40PM
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I raise white mute swans.The female makes nest,shell lay one egg every other day.Till all are laid then shell lay on eggs.They dont start to incubate till she lays on them.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 4:45PM
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I have read that the eggs begin to incubate when the goose begins setting. Mine has and she has about 16 eggs. Should I candle them in a couple of weeks and throw out the bad ones? Right now she does not like to be disturbed so I am just letting her set on them all. They are a cross of African and one of the plain white geese. Sorry I'm not up on my breeds. There was a chicken egg in with hers once but I removed it when she was still in the laying process. She is safe and sound in a secure section of the barnyard close to her ganders and chicken friends. She seems quite content now. I'm not sure what to expect as this is a first for me.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 7:16PM
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I have a male and female touloose goose,yesterday she laid only 1 egg out in the in nh the nights get to cold so I bring my two in for the night,they have a pen in the basement.I took the egg and the nest put it in a small dog kennel then put it in her pen,now she wont sit on the egg at the egg still good.will she lay more.should i take the nest out of the kennel.any help would be nice,my 12 year old is very excited.thanks

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:22AM
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