Pilgrim geese, as I’ve mentioned before, are “sex-linked”, which means right from hatching you can tell the males from the females based on color. Here you can see Uncle Waldo and Abigail as newly hatched goslings:
Abigail is dark gray: Uncle Waldo is lighter grey with more yellow in his fuzz.
Here is Abigail today, standing next to a Rouen duck:
She has made a good-sized nest out of straw in the duck-n-goose house:
The ducks have been sneaking into her nest to drop some of their eggs. But ducks seem to be a lot less picky than chickens; whereas the chickens will only lay in their nesting boxes, the ducks have been dropping their eggs any old place.
We have 4 duck breeds: our light weights are Indian Runners, our medium weights are Buffs and Crested Whites, and our heavy-weights are Rouens. You can see how much bigger Abigail’s eggs are than the ducks’:
By way of comparison, here you can see an extra large chicken egg, one of the medium weight duck eggs, and the Pilgrim goose egg:
Because we are having a cold snap with temperatures well below freezing right now, Phil has been collecting Abigail’s eggs every day and storing them in a wire basket in the basement where it is about 60°F. If they are kept cool but not cold, out of direct sunlight, and turned over every day, the eggs will stay viable for several weeks.
We had been thinking that next week when temperatures come back up, we would return Abigail’s eggs to her nest. But now I have decided to incubate four of them all the way through hatching and let Abigail lay a new clutch of eggs to sit on. From what I have read, Pilgrim geese are not the most skilled at hatching their own eggs
One of my co-workers had a couple of egg incubators she wasn’t planning to use anymore, so she gave them to me. The model I am using is a Lyon Turn-X by GQF:
This model allows me to control the temperature and humidity and has an automatic turner that rolls the eggs 180 degrees every hour so I don’t have to remember to turn them myself.
In 7 days we will candle the eggs, and if this clown…
…has been doing his job, we SHOULD see this:
The dark spot is the developing embryo. Image from Backyard Chickens goose forum
If NOT, then we’ll see this:
Check back in seven days to learn how the Uncle Waldo saga ends!
Forum threads of interest: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/658057/picture-journey-of-my-goose-egg-incubation-awesome-all-pics-in-first-post-easy-to-see