We first got our Toulouse Geese from McMurray in 2008. We got ten goslings and it turned out to be four girls and six boys. We ate four boys that first winter. So we started that next season with all four girls and the best two ganders. They are Toulouse Geese, a breed that will live to be forty years old, at least. We don’t think they’ll outlive us, but they could.
So now it’s 2013, the older girls are five years old. Suddenly, we’ve figured out how to get goslings. The first few years were iffy. I blamed it on a lack of deep water, something I read somewhere, but Frank was convinced it was mere immaturity. It turns out he was right. I don’t mind being wrong about that at all.
Then, even when they finally hatched some goslings, they’d all get off their nest to co-mother actual babies rather than hope for future babies. They love the babies. They are the most doted on critters that I’ve ever seen. The grown-ups become the outside guard to everyone else and yet they are so tender and sweet to the babies.
They seem to be teaching the babies correctly, about who to be aggressive to and who is our friend. If a gosling calls the alarm, the entire calvary responds. With poults, it’s almost the opposite. The poults panic and vocalize about every damn thing, so almost everyone ignores them, and I have to fight that urge myself. No wonder poults are so fragile. They cry wolf far too often. (peep peep peep peep!!!!!) That last note is the one to listen to. If it’s calm, they are okay. If it’s a screech, they aren’t.) STFU.
We’ve had three geese successfully hatch goslings so far this year. The first with eight, on May 16th, then one with five on May 17th, then another with ten! on May 18th. The most exciting bit is that the other girls have stayed on their nests. We have the first two clutches in the barn, because they kept going too close to the road. The third one seems to be doing okay, staying up near the barn and behind it, so we are letting them have a bit of freedom. I think I’ll keep the ones in the barn in there a bit more, until I have a safer way to keep them way from the road.
I have two girls setting inside the barn, two setting under the eaves of the house, and one silly girl who is still laying eggs, and setting on the clutch next to a brush pile up the hill. I found the gang of turkeys picking on her today for some stupid reason and had to help her fend them off. I guess everyone else in her gang is busy so I need to keep an eye on her. I think she’s the youngest girl we have.
I have got to figure out a way to band all these babies. Frank thinks we want to keep all our girls again and just keep a few boys from this year’s crop. I am hoping the plastic bands we have will work and have to figure out how to catch the outside goslings to band them. The ones in the barn should be easier. We just have to figure out a way to get the grown-ups out without them killing us, then catch and release each goslings. Easy!
2 thoughts on “Goslings Galore”
Ah, THANK YOU! I have 3 Embden geese, three ladies and one gent. I was about to decide the gentleman was shooting blanks – one lady has been sitting on her nest for-ev-er and nary a gosling. So, given they live a long time, it’s a while before they start successfully breeding?
If they are yearlings, it is quite possible that he is shooting blanks. Ganders may not be fertile until the second year. And our experience is that it can take a few tries for the girls to figure out how to brood, and especially, not to abandon their nest when the first clutch hatches. We also had an issue one year, where the first clutch to hatch was in the most socially desirable nest site so one of the lower status geese abandoned her own eggs to sit on the dead ones in the better neighborhood.