Abigail, our 11-month-old Pilgrim goose
I just cannot believe our good fortune! God certainly is blessing us in the poultry area at the moment.
She’d built her nest awhile ago and had been laying an egg in it every other day. I collected some for the incubator and had been storing the rest in the basement because the nights have still been dropping below freezing and she wasn’t sitting yet.
But today I put those eight eggs back in her nest because it isn’t supposed to freeze again, and shortly thereafter she commenced sitting!
I was surprised that Uncle Waldo wasn’t with her and is instead spending this lovely sunny spring day out on the pond.
He kept close tabs on me while I was busy planting a new Stanley plum tree and a Red Haven peach tree, but he didn’t try to attack me.
I put food and a bucket of water in the duck-n-goose house with Abigail and quietly closed the door to keep the chickens from pestering her, as they seemed determined to do.
Here is some helpful information about broody geese from Domestic Geese by Dr. Chris Ashton:
“More females are lost in spring through lack of care than at any other time. It is essential to make a note of the date when the goose first sat seriously, both for the sake of her health and that of the goslings. Females that have been left to sit for more than 32 days off and find it very difficult to revive their appetite, and sometimes die.
First of all, the goose and gander should be wormed when she is definitely broody. The gander also tends to lose his appetite when the goose is sitting. The advantage of worming for the goose is that she does not lose so much condition while she is sitting and, if she becomes ill, one possible cause of disease is eliminated. Also, both birds will be free of worms when they lead the goslings out.
The goose must be fed and watered once a day. This should not be too hurried an affair, as she will want to carefully cover her eggs with down, so that they remain warm in the nest for some time and are camouflaged. Wheat in a bucket of water is suitable, and the goose should be encouraged to swim if the weather is hot and dry, as this will give the eggs the correct amount of moisture.
If the birds are tame, the feeding and watering procedure is not a problem, as a tame goose will allow you to look at the eggs and left her off the nest, and a tame gander will not attack. In these circumstances, a goose can be fed twice a day if she is losing too much condition. With fierce birds it is much more problematical, and it is best to drive the gander to a place out of the way when you want to drive the goose off the nest, otherwise smashed eggs will result. Geese that are accustomed to sitting will probably look after themselves, but you must check. Young birds need more attention because they have not been through this process before, and can become very run down by sitting too tightly.” (Ashton, pp 131-133).
Provided she stays on the nest and the eggs are viable, the goslings should hatch on May 8th!