I have a broody GOOSE!!!

Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)April 7, 2006

I have three geese... a Pilgrim female, an American Buff female and a mixed breed Embden/Buff/Toulouse? gander. I just love them... but with the breeding season the gander has become extremely hostile and aggressive and will soon have an invitation to dinner, so to speak.

The last few days my Buff goose (a real sweetheart) has been setting, so yesterday I gave her a dozen goose eggs (hers and the Pilrim's) to incubate. She tenderly tucked them under her one at a time, looking very pleased. (Geese have such expressive eyes.) She hardly leaves the nest and when she does she spends several minutes making sure the eggs are well covered with feathers and shavings. My HENS never do that!

Anyhow, I am excited... and eager to share my news with people who understand. My geese are not quite a year old, so their fertility will not be at the peak level... but even so I am hoping for at least six goslings. I just love geese!


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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

What fun.....

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 8:23PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Oh Maggie how exciting!!!!!! I am very interested in hearing more about your geese. I honestly didn't know geese went broody, yours sounds like a really good mom.

A friend of mine gave me a bunch of duck eggs and a goose egg that I currently have in the incubator. I am intrigued with the goose egg. I have never in my life seen such a huge egg before! Do you have a pond for them? do you have ducks too? Do you eat the eggs from your geese?

What are they like, do they hang out with your chickens or stick to themselves? Do you have a separate shelter for them?

My friend who gave me the fertile eggs told me she'd take the goose if I don't want to keep it. I am going to try to give it a go. The goose egg is from a Buff Pomeranian saddleback and the ducks are mixes of Khaki, Rouen, Blue Sweden and Indian Runner.

I candled them this week and I saw one of the ducks face and little bill, it was moving around....what fun.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 6:37AM
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My white mute swan is laying so far we have 6 eggs.usually 8.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 2:28PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Isn't springtime exciting, with all the new young life? Bulldinkie, hope you get lots of cygnets. Swans are so beautiful.

Sheila, I am only to glad to tell you about my geese. They are such joyous creatures and they have wise eyes, as though they knew secrets of life we can only guess at. I hope you Buff Pom hatches okay... how did it look when you candled it? It will be happier if you can get another gosling or two from your friend... they definitely like their own kind for company. My Pilgrim goose, Willow, was hatched by my broody hen last year, the only one of four eggs to hatch, so I bought the only goslings available to me: an American Buff goose and a mutt gander.

Buffs and Pilgrims have the best reputations for gentleness and friendliness. I like the Pilgrims because they are autosexing, so you know exactly what you have on sight. The ganders are white with blue eyes and the geese mainly grey with white markings and hazel-grey eyes. I've ordered two pairs of Pilgrim goslings for this year and I can hardly wait until they arrive. The present gander has to go... I'm sure he will be delicious! And his offspring will also be for the table come autumn. That will leave me, hopefully, with four geese and two ganders... all Pilgrims except Buff. She can be a surrogate mother or even raise crossbred goslings for the table next year. She is the sweetest natured goose imaginable and a definite keeper.

I've heard good things about Pomeranian Saddlebacks too, but have no firsthand experience of them.

People are always saying that chickens are addictive, but to my mind geese are much more so! They are smarter than chickens and more interactive. I don't have ducks because I don't have a pond for them and because their rough breeding habits don't appeal to me. Not to say that I won't get some one of these years, just that they have not been a priority.

I partitioned my chicken house and the geese have half of it. They have their own pop-hole, although occasionally they will squeeze into the chicken pop-hole out of curiosity. I downsized my chicken flock to a dozen to accomodate the geese. That still gives us plenty of eggs. All my birds free-range, but the geese do chase the chickens. I think it is more playful than malicious, and in any case the chickens have no trouble getting away. The chickens wander about in little cliques of two or three but the geese are always together, except now when one is always on the nest.

Geese are like two-year-olds... always curious and into mischief and anything they find gets tasted. They will nibble on almost anything. A certain amount of "childproofing" is necessary to make sure they don't hurt themselves. Mine got hold of an extension cord that I THOUGHT was out of their reach and chewed right through it, copper wire and all. Thank goodness it was not plugged in, but I'll tell you, it gave me a scare. I'm more careful now. They love to escape from their pasture and come looking for us. When we see them and herd them back to their area they have expressions like naughty children caught in the act. So funny!

Goose eggs are excellent eating. They are huge and most of that is yolk. They have about as much white as a large chicken egg and the rest is yolk. The flavour is mild but mellow. In a blind taste test most people would not know the difference between goose eggs and chicken eggs. I have heard that duck eggs tend to be stronger flavoured, but I've never eaten one.

We ate the first dozen or so eggs because it was early in the season and the first few eggs tend not to be fertile. Lately I have been storing the latest dozen or so, and eating the oldest ones as more are laid. So I was ready when Buff decided to be a mom. I'm glad for her. The gander chose Willow as his "best girl" and Buff often just tags along, kind of a third wheel, so she will have the babies to love and fuss over. If they hatch. I can hardly wait.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 6:04PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Maggie, wow, what fun your geese are! thanks for sharing your experience! My dh is currently expanding our existing coop to accommodate our new chickens. We were hoping to build a separate structure for the ducks and goose. Good tip about another gosling. I am still not sure if we will keep the ducks and goose, the biggest concern is the noise factor and how tolerant my neighbors will be....only one way to find out!

I cannot imagine eating a goose egg, I would guess it's equal to about 4-5 chicken eggs! amazing about the yokes being so big.

Thanks again Maggie, I can't wait to hear how things go for your broody girl :)


    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 8:18PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

I'll post updates, Sheila. It's nice to see someone else show such interest and enthusiasm. I mean, I like chickens, but the geese are awesome!

I figure that a goose egg is roughly the equivalent of two chicken eggs. The Buff's eggs run around 40 - 45 grams and the Pilgrim's 35 - 40 grams. Pom's may be larger... they are fairly large geese, aren't they?

The geese are rather noisy at times, but no worse a noise nuisance than a barking dog...and they not such constant noise-makers as the chickens. Fortunately we have only one neighbour close enough to be annoyed and I give them eggs from time to time. We are on a two-lane highway that is a tourist route, so the traffic is fairly heavy in summer and it helps drown out the critters. And as we are zoned for agriculture, we really don't have to worry.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 9:24PM
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amiz5904(z8 NC)

You know, you people are the worst influence EVER!! I've been online for 2 days now bidding on hatching goose eggs!! Stop feeding my addiction!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 8:02AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Yeah, right, Audrey... like you REALLY want us to stop. LOL. Just wait until you have sweet little goslings running around...then you'll THANK us.

Audrey, do not read any further. The information contained in this post may cause chronic goose addiction.

Last year when I was still carrying the goslings out to their day pen, I startd singing to them to calm them. I hit on "Row,row,row your boat"' -- Heaven knows why. It soon became their travelling music. Even now, unless they are in a naughty mood, when I sing that they will file into the goose house for the night from their pasture like good little children.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 8:28AM
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amiz5904(z8 NC)

Chronic goose addiction??? STOP! If it's anything like chronic chicken addiction I am completely screwed!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 10:38AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Hey, Audrey... Goose addiction is MUCH worse. But I think it is already too late for you, so give in and enjoy. Resistance is futile." LOL

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 12:14PM
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I don't have any geese. I have ducks though! To me, ducks are the most sweetest with the most personality. They are all so different. But, that's just 'me' One of my girls is sitting on 4 eggs right now. She'll lay about 15 or so more I guess. I enjoy the little babies though, they're precious!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 3:14PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Genny, I'm sure "duck addiction" is every bit as bad (good) as goose addiction. But for some reason I have been fascinated by geese for a long, long time. So I am really enjoying them now that I have some. Hope you get lots of lovely ducklings! Usually, though, once a bird begins to incubate the eggs in her nest, she stops laying more.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 7:43PM
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Maggie, you have no idea how jealous I am. I have to agree. My chicken addiction is somewhat under control now... But I JUST COULDN'T WAIT for the geese. Our previous ones were relocated to my parent's lake house...now EVERYONE there knows them, and feeds them.

So I now have 4 ducks and 2 geese. I fear they are white chinese...but I'm hoping they are Embdens. And they are ADORABLE. Almost 4 weeks old now...and moved to their outside coop already. And I'm definately the mommy goose/duck. Their "relaxation/calm down" song is "Jesus Loves Me" And they put themselves up well before dark, then call and call until I come close the door. Hilarious...and they come when I call them! (It helps that I always have some goodies!) And YES! They do have expressive eyes.

The ducks are really great, too, but the geese just have sooo much silly personality! I constantly catch myself saying "you silly goose", then laughing because that's just what they are! I am a goner...total goose freak. Sure am glad I'm not alone...:)


    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:05AM
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Hey ya'll! Topaz hasn't started sitting on them yet, so I'm sure she'll lay more. I have thought about getting geese, but I didn't want anything to be mean to my girl muscovies. And since geese are SO much bigger I didn't know how they might react to my ducks. I have 7 muscovies and 1 mallard. He thinks he is a muscovie! He's so funny! I really want a pekin duck. They're the white ducks. Do you know much about them? Are they more aggressive than other breeds, or are they more nicer... Talk to ya'll later!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:35AM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Well it's great to hear there are so many more goose people around than I thought!

Maggie, the Pom goose egg that my friend gave me is about 4-5 times the size of a chicken egg, it looks like it's from a dinosaur! I am so amazed every time I turn it to feel the weight but I have no idea of the actual grams or ounces. My friend also says her geese are HUGE. The info online says they only get to 15-17 pounds but she swears hers are over 30 LBS...maybe they are mutants!

Genny, Pekin's are so pretty, I definitely think you should get some!

Audrey, LOL, let us know how you make out on the auction :)

Hey Suzie, I love your goose song, you and Maggie seem to have something there! I will have to work on my singing! yikes! now you guys are getting me pumped for my little goose egg to hatch!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 7:30AM
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amiz5904(z8 NC)

The goose eggs are coming, the goose eggs are coming! Yay, I won my bid (of course I was the only freak that bid!). I'm getting 8 Sebastopol mix geese - I hope nobody has any major negatives on this breed. What I read said that they were fairly docile and quiet. Quiet being the operative word. My neighbors are very tolerant but I think my peacock may have pushed them over the edge with his constant hollering!

So apart from misting these eggs several times a week, should I expect to do much else different than when I incubate chicken eggs? My broody hens will be busy with Velvet's eggs so I'm brooding the geese myself. I'm so excited!!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 7:50AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Oh goody! Lots of goosey people to chat with about our birds!

Suzie - If you end up not liking your present breed, consider Pilgrims or American Buffs for the future. They are just soooo nice. I don't know much about Chinese geese, but my nasty gander is part Embdem, I think, and he is no fun at all. But it could be just him.

Sheila - Those Poms sound "supersized" to me! Maybe the result of selective breeding for size.

Audrey - Sestapols! Now I'm jealous! They have such gorgeous twisty feathers - quite exotic!

I incubabted my Pilgrim eggs under a broody last year and I turned the eggs morning and evening and spritzed them daily, except no turning the last three days.

Not sure how much you would need to spritz in an incubator as there is also some moisture there. Sorry I'm not more help. Maybe someone else knows and will post. I'll also check my goose book and see what it says.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:29PM
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Maggie, was your gander nasty before breeding season? Or before the goose went broody? My understanding is that most of the males will behave that way while protecting his "family", but I may be wrong. Did you raise him from his young gosling days? I loved the two Embdens I had before, but then lost the female to a predator. The male was so much quieter than the Chinese were...(Dh called them "the mafia").
Do you remember back when I posted about them? I bought a yellow one, and a grey one, thinking yellow was the girl, and grey was the boy. I do know they were embdens, for sure. Then someone here told me that the yellow was the male, the the grey the girl...which turned out true. THEN, I learn that only the Pilgrim geese are colored sexed that way...what's up with that???

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:52PM
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marquisella(z4 NY)

I have never hatched geese but they are saying on another list that you have to take the geese eggs out of the incubator for an hour a day in order for them to cool & hatch well. Something about the cooling & shrinking something so the baby has more room to move around & grow.
Its from the person with the most experience hatching on the list, thousands a
year. Just thought I'd throw that out.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 5:40PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Suzi - My gander was always a little pushy and greedy, but he went bad overnight when the breeding season started. I'm not exactly scared of him because in a pinch I can grab his neck and hold his head down, but he never backs off with me, so I need Brian or my son David with me when I go in to do chores. I have a bad knee and walk with a cane, so if he tripped me (as almost happened the day he went between my legs) I could get pretty battered before I could get up again. As it is he gave me a bruise the size of a small plate on my leg. I think it may be just him though. Jason Cain of Performance Poultry said it could be due to the fact that I kind of made pets of the geese, so the gander has no respect for me.

Embdens can apparently be fairly reliably sexed during their first month by colour, according to Dave Holderread in "The Book of Geese." The females have darker grey markings in their fluff than the males. Only works reliably with purebreds.

Audrey - Have you put the eggs in the incubator yet? I found a checklist for incubating goose eggs in the same book but it is long and I am pressed for time today. Try to give you the highlights tonight. Humidity 55 - 62 per cent during the first 25 days of incubation. Is your incubator still air or forced air? Its important to know because the methods are slightly different. Gotta run now... so much to do today!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 9:37AM
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amiz5904(z8 NC)

Haven't gotten my eggs yet - hopefully tomorrow and then I'll let them sit for 12 hours so the air space settles. My incubator is a still air one. I should really get a hygrometer since I don't have one although I've successfully hatched eggs in it before, just never geese.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 4:55PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

The Book of Geese (by David Holderread) is a terrific book to have on your shelf....I have excepted (with thanks and apologies) this abbreviated Incubation Checklist for Goose Eggs:

Start incubator well before using. Make adjustments to temperature, humidity and ventilation.

Egg cell (large end) slightly raised and do not overcrowd eggs.

If you are turning manually, do not disturb them for the first 24 hours.

Turn eggs gently 3 times daily at regular intervals, from the 2nd to 25th day.

Still air incubators: 101.5 to 102.5 F.
Forced air incubators: 99 - 99.5

Relative humidity at 55 - 62 percent (a wet bulb reading of 84 - 88 degrees F.) for the first 25 days of incubation.

When using a still air incubator, cool eggs 5 - 7 minutes a day the second week; 8 - 10 minutes a day during third week; and 12 - 15 minutes a day the first 4 days of the final week.

Starting on the seventh day, spray or dip eggs in lukewarm (110 F) water daily or every other day.

If all eggs were set at the same time, you might want to lower the incubation temp 1 - 2 degrees during the hatch.

Increase relative humidity to approx. 75 per cent (wet-bulb reading of 90 - 93 degrees F.) for the hatch.

Do not open the incubator except when absolutely necessary during the hatch.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 5:02PM
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amiz5904(z8 NC)

Wow, sounds complicated. I'm sure I will be a nervous wreck! It's so much easier when I can let my hens do the work but in this case I obviously can't.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 7:44AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

It SOUNDS complicated, but at least with specifics spelled out for you, you won't spend energy agonizing over all the little decisions. Hope you get a great hatch!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 8:34AM
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motherduck(Z2b MB)

Maggie, once breeding season starts, the sweetest gander can become aggressive and protective. They can stay very protective when there are goslings. The only solution is to separate the gander but it's quite stressful for them. However, it can be necessary if people are always being attacked. Geese are very individual so some ganders stay quite friendly during breeding. Two of my ganders are quite nice during breeding season while the other one is really nasty. At this time the ganders will often fight with each other and cause serious damage unless separated.

I find goose eggs to be too rich for eating but they're great for baking. Goose eggs are usually equivalent to about 3 chicken eggs but of course this can vary.

Audrey, geese are very loud and you wouldn't want their barn/shed too close to the house. Chinese geese are the noisiest and Africans are the loudest. Sebastopols are a very gentle breed so you should be happy with yours but what are they crossed with? Pilgrims and Sebastopols are the gentlest. Roman Tufted are almost as friendly followed by American Buffs. Geese are very individual and their personalities can vary greatly even within the same breed. Often ganders that are raised as pets can be sweet when young and then turn into your worst nightmare because they have no fear of people. Ganders are much better when they're raised with less human contact. Females make much better pets.

Mommacotti, often with newly hatched white-feathered geese (and Pilgrim goslings) the females have more grey. The males are more yellow.

Genny, I have both ducks and geese and I love them all but geese tend to have more personality and intelligence. Of all my ducks the Silver Appleyards have the most character. My Call ducks are really entertaining too--now these ducks can be addictive--they're soooo cute! Pekins are similar in temperment to the other Mallard-derived breeds which basically includes all domestic ducks except Muscovies. There are slight differences between breeds and often the lighter-weight ones are more skittish. When ducklings are raised with goslings or Muscovy ducklings they seem to be calmer. Many people don't like the mating habits of ducks since the males can be relentless breeders but things are great when you limit the number of drakes. Often ducks will separate into pairs and this works out well but you need lots of space (or free-ranging) for this to be successful.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 10:41AM
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Thanks motherduck! Do you know if there is a way to tell if they are Emdens or White Chinese?

Dang you people! I guess now I'm going to have to get the Goose book , and a few other breeds. I've been DYING for the Sebastopols for a long time, now. Might as well go for it, eh?


    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 12:12PM
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motherduck(Z2b MB)

Suzie, have you checked the gosling photos on Feathersite? It can be hard to tell at this age if you can't see the two breeds side by side. Then you'd be able to see that the Chinese goslings are leaner, lighter weight and probably more active. I highly recommend Dave Holderreads 'The Book of Geese' for every goose owner. His book on raising ducks is also excellent.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 1:06PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Motherduck, thanks for posting all that great information. I won't make so many mistakes with the male goslings I get this year. And at least with Pilgrims I will know which ones are ganders.

This current gander, though, has to go as soon as breeding season is over. Apart from his nastiness, he is a mutt and I want to raise purebred Pilgrims next year. (Two pair of Pilgrim goslings on order from Performance Poultry here in Prince Edward County, Ontario and due to arrive in mid-May.) I will keep my lovely Buff goose too...I can weigh the eggs to determine which are hers. She can help hatch more Pilgrims and maybe a few of her own for the table. But all that is next year! This year, I am just hoping for a decent hatch.

Any thoughts on how upset my two geese are likely to be when we cull the gander? My broody girl has always been a little detached from the other two, but my Pilgrim is the gander's favourite girl and they are always together.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 5:53PM
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motherduck(Z2b MB)

Geese can have a hard time with separation especially when you separate a pair or goslings from parents. I sold 2 two month old goslings last fall and the whole flock was upset for awhile. They'd always go looking for the goslings. When I was selling the goslings I had them separated and caged. The Pilgrim gander kept flying over the fence to save them because he could hear them crying. I felt so bad but I have to limit the amount of birds I can keep especially over the winter.

Besides Pilgrims, I also have Roman Tufted geese. I'd like the Pilgrims to hatch some eggs this year but they can have a low fertility rate. The whole flock raised the goslings I had last year. Both these breeds are great mothers.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 10:37PM
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amiz5904(z8 NC)

OK, so the eggs went in the incubator this morning, then I realized that Natty my 3 year old turkey hen who is the best mom ever, has gone broody on me. Can she handle these eggs, assuming I mist them every other day, or do you think I'll need to turn them as well?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 6:57PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

How big are the goose eggs compared to turkey eggs? If of similar size she should have no trouble turning them. Even a hen will try to turn them, but it's a push. If you want to go that route and give Natty the eggs, I suggest you mark them with a pencilled X on one side so you can tell if she is turning them. Also, under a chicken or turkey I would tend to mist them once a day.

Hope it goes well!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 8:00AM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Maggie, I've been thinking, dare I ask you..... what does goose taste like? how do you cook it?

Thanks for the incubation info. above, I didn't know about taking the egg out to cool, that's a new one to me.

-Sheila :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 12:22PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

It was a new one to me too, Sheila, but that's what Dave Holderread suggested. I suppose it mimics the time the goose spends off the nest.

Goose meat is delicious and very versatile. And don't waste the goose fat either! Rendered it is marvellous for making pastry. To me, goose meat is milder than duck but much richer than chicken. A bit like the dark meat on the turkey, but not dry like the the drumsticks. But really, my recollections are hazy... I can't afford to buy a goose for the table (around here they are upwards of forty dollars) so it has been probably at least twenty years since I have eaten goose. I really liked it though.

Roast goose with sage and apple stuffing is traditional, but that is the beginning not the end of goose cuisine. I'll post some goose recipes for you when I've had a chance to test a few.

I'll tell you what, Sheila... I'll give a full report once we cull our obnoxious gander. I'd do it now if I wasn't afraid of upsetting my broody goose. I thought it best to wait until the hatch is over. Although she is very dedicated to those eggs and I'm not sure she will care much. It is my Pilrim goose that will miss him most.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 3:18PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Thanks Maggie :) I am curious more than anything, I am not planning on eating our goose, although the ducks may be another story ;) I was wondering if there was a processing age....will your gander be tough because it's an adult. I have no clue but am enjoying learning more about geese and ducks.

DH is working on the coop expansion for the 30something chicks in the basement, he is installing a special sound deadening insulation in hopes I can keep a roo or two without *issing off the neighbors.

Our ducks are due this thursday....I will let you know how we make out, there are 7 eggs of mixed breeds.

Thanks again Maggie,

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 7:01PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

The gander might not be as tender as a young goose, but he is stil less than a year old, so how tough can he be? He gets worse and worse... so I don't think I will have trouble culling him... although I will have to distance myself from any of the mutt goslings that my Buff might hatch. I have to do this with the meat rabbits too... if they are not destined for future breeding, then I cannot allow myself to get too fond of them. I can admire their beauty, enjoy their antics and ensure that they have a good - if rather short - life... but that's all.

The Pilgrim geese are another matter. As Motheduck mentioned they can have a rather low fertility rate, quite possibly due to inbreeding. If all goes according to plan I will have five Pilgrims from three sources to breed next year. I doubt I will have trouble finding homes for any I might offer for sale. If I do end up with more than I have room for, then I will cull the extras for the table. But geese are special to me and I would rather help the Pilgrims make a comeback in Ontario than serve them up for dinner.

Sheila, I am looking forward to hearing how your ducks do... Thursday is not that long to wait!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 9:31PM
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Well, I ordered "The Book Of Geese", plus another one too. I forget the name of it...but they should all be in before next Friday.

It just occurred to me...since we started this "farming" venture, every week has been like Christmas morning. I've never had more fun in my whole life.

Also, I bought 6 little Sebastopol goslings, and 1 Embden. I went to the hatchery and picked them up on Thursday. Yep, I've died and gone to Heaven! :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 2:09PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Suzie, Suzie... I am sitting here turning a deep shade of green with envy! Let me guess... you bought every gosling they had!

Way to go, girl! You are now hopelessly addicted.

I can't wait until my goslings arrive... or hatch... or preferably both! But nothing will happen here until May.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 5:20PM
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motherduck(Z2b MB)

Maggie, good luck with the Pilgrims. Maybe some day we can trade some eggs.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 10:44AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Sounds like a good idea to me, Motherduck! The more diversity the better, as far as I am concerned. Keep in touch!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 1:25AM
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Hey everyone. I have read all the posts, and I think this is a GREAT site for geese/duck raisers. I am in 7th grade and I have 2 pilgrim geese (a male and a female). I got them from a hatchery on April 10, 2007, along with my indian runner and pekin ducks. The ducks, who are seperate from the geese, have already started laying eggs, but the female goose has not. What is the sexual maturity age for pilgrim geese? I took them both to the county fair in July. Could that have an effect on the egg production?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 7:05PM
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Hi Melanie,
Ducks will lay through most of the summer depending on the weather and the breed of duck. Some will even lay year round.
Geese, on the other hand, will lay mostly in the spring. They reach sexual maturity in one year but won't lay until the have the right environmental cues to let them know its spring.
Keep us posted this spring, we look forward to hearing about your goslings!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 9:26PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

That is right... Geese are spring layers. Your goose will no doubt lay eggs in the spring but don't be too disappointed if they don't hatch. Sometimes geese just aren't mature enough at one year to breed successfully. You can help by giving them some kind of a pool next spring. It makes it easier for them to breed.

I have two Pilgrim geese and one gander now. The gander was just a year old in the spring and NONE of the eggs hatched. I was disappointed, but I'm hoping for better things next spring. I really like the Pilgrim geese... they are so gentle and friendly. Hope you enjoy yours just as much, Melanie.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 11:15PM
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I have just now separated my chickens from my broody goose as they began to disturb her nest. She now has her own section of the coop; however, they free-range together during the day. I have been trying to educate myself about successful hatching procedures. Is it better to just let nature take its course as I hope for offspring but am not desperate for them. Are there problems I can watch for to encourage success, like the separate quarters, without interfering too much?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 2:16PM
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This is our second year, so we're no authority - but we had a very large batch of goslings last year. How many eggs do you believe your gal is setting on?

Since our broody gal(s) are Common Grays and much smaller than the rest of the flock (Brown Chinese) - we've routinely had to crate them, not due to the chickens, but so that the other geese do not disturb them. The females tend to fight over nests and the dominant ones win. Our Grays are bottom of the pecking order.

With crating/seperating, you'll have to be sure to provide have ample food and water - but don't expect your broodies to have big appetites. Also, they'll need protection (from predators). I've read that, in face of a predator, a broody goose will not leave the nest - they'd rather go down with the ship. We've luckilly not had to find that out, but I can tell you - ours will NOT abandon their nest even when several flock mates are beating on them to turn over the nest. That broodiness is strong! - hence the separating.

We have one broody now and seperated again this year. I let her out twice a day to stretch her legs, bathe, and grab a few mouthfuls of grass. I watch the nest for her while she's out. She's ready to return in about 15 mins. After that, we're just letting nature take its course, up until hatch time, and this year, we'll probably let her carry forth on her own through that process as well.

Last year, our gal moved off the nest after the first three hatched. She was however, sitting on a clutch of 12 eggs! - not all hers, nor likely laid on the same day. By 9:00pm on hatching day, we intervened and brought the remaining eggs (some pipping) inside to continue hatching since the goose did not seem interested in attending to them any longer. I'm not sure if that was wise or necessary - but in the end we had NINE goslings. The last two we had to raise ourselve as a consequence of intervening.

I think some of the factors in our story was that our gal was on a very large clutch of eggs, many of which were laid days apart. We humans were willing and wanting for most of them to hatch. Not sure if our goose was as gung-ho.

Where's your gander by the way?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Thanks,lfrj, for the response. I have two African ganders and one white goose and one white gander. I have seen the African breeding the goose but not the white one. Sorry, not up on my goose breeds. The adult whites were a gift. I bought the Africans as goslings several years ago. They are very noisy but I live rather secluded but do have neighbors that have just learned to live with their noise, I guess. Never any complaints. They are terrific watch geese so i guess my neighbors appreciate them, too. The goose has eight eggs but must still be in the laying process . She is starting to spend more and more time on the nest but not glued to it. How many eggs will she lay before she begins to set? I can close the door off to predators but since she is still enjoying her freedom in the pen grazing I leave it open. None of the other birds seem to bother it now that its seperated. I'm getting excited since I found this site and will be disappointed it there isn't a successful hatch. Thanks much for your help. LOVE THE SITE!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:53AM
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Good that you seperated her. She'll get down to business when she feels she has enough eggs. OUrs is literally GLUED to the nest. She hisses anytime I come near her, even to let her out twice a day. Five mins and she's back on that nest! Same with our Muscovy - who's sitting on one, count em ONE egg. Whatever.
If our broodies feel that any of the others are getting too close while they're taking baths or going for their morning stroll, they'll return immediatly. Barely eat. Just sit. YOu watch! You'll know.

Another clue we get here is that our gals will build a real Fort Knox-of-a-nest (not the usual, "make do" nests slung together just to pocket the eggs. The construction on this one will be really different and lined with down and feathers.

Your momma will have to sit for about 30-31 days - during which you'll get real concerned about her well being. If she looks like she's really pouring time on that nest, note it on the calendar. Might be helpful, but there's not much you need to do but keep her safe and provide food and fresh water. She'll do the rest.

As for the gosling part (if/when they arrive)-then you'll REALLY be in for a show! Geese are a community and really exemplify the expression - "it takes a village..."
The adults all kick in to do their part. As we observed, wherever our flock moved to, the little ones were flanked on each corner by an adult, and at night when the owls came a hoping - there was a mad scramble to get the goslings and two unties in the cratem, and one auntie in the doorway guarding while the Gander paroled the yard squawing.

Most amazing thing - we had two goslings last year that were rejected by the females - they were very late hatches. WE brooded them inside for weeks and eventually took them to the rest of the flock in hopes they'd assimilate. Nothing doing. More rejection on part of the females, BUT - get this! - our GANDER took them under his wing and raised them on his own! No kidding! He acted and protected them just like one of the females. Raised his wings so they could cuddle up under him and he'd preen them with his gigantic beak...and if one of the females got too close to his two babies, he'd nail em! This actually happened! (Of course, this year now that they'er all grown up, he's taken one of them as his bride - but then, they're geese).

Geese are so cool. A lot more drama and politics than other birds - very fascinating to watch. We're wondering how it's going to go this year. I just hope the rest of our flock doesn't try to take the babies away from their mum if ours hatch.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 3:45PM
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My goose has finally started setting constantly. I was beginning to think she never would. She hisses when I get near, also, and the ganders were very aggressive with me yesterday evening during chores. She has a lot of eggs even though I have been taking some away. My grandson and I watched a wild Canada goose hatch her young over the past month. She nested on an island in the creek and we worried the eggs would wash away in the heavy spring rains but they survived. They hatched out this week and she and the gander are so protective of them. The only way we could tell if she left the nest was her facing in a different direction. She camouflaged herself against predators to the point she alsmost disappeared. Anyway, it was an enjoyable experience for us and now we are counting the days until our clutch hatches. I am not surprised your gander took in the spurned goslings as this Canada goose is a terrific father!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 8:03AM
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I have a trio of Brecon Buffs and my one goose has started laying and building her nest under the supervision of the gander. Normally at night they are locked in their house but this now changes the routine as once she sits I presume the gander will insist on staying out with her. My question is what should I do with my other girl? If I shut her in on her own at night will she not be upset on her own or should she stay out with her family?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 5:58PM
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