Incubation progress and dealing with detached air cells.

I’ve set up a second incubator full of Pilgrim goose eggs;

This has been my little surgery-recuperation spot, with a rocking chair, reading material and incubators close at hand.  Currently I am (finally) reading SJWs Always Lie, which I received as a birthday gift this year, as well as Storey’s Guide to Raising Turkeys, in anticipation of 15 Midget White poults due to arrive in June.

Also, Domestic Geese by Dr. Chris Ashton has been invaluable as I learn to hatch the notoriously challenging-to-incubate Pilgrims.

I purchased some extra Pilgrim eggs on eBay from a farm in Missouri.  Although the seller packaged them well, the post office seriously mishandled the box, crushing one side and breaking one of the eggs, which leaked all over.

Smashed Pilgrim egg in bubble wrap

The problem with this is that fertile eggs have an air cell within them that can be damaged if they are jarred and jostled too hard.  Though the remaining eleven eggs are not cracked, there’s little chance of them developing if the air cells are damaged.

Eleven eggs from another farm plus three from Abigail; our hope is to increase genetic diversity in our flock.

I have propped up the purchased eggs with the blunt end up in hopes of getting the air cells to repair themselves back at the top of the eggs.

Here is the progress on Abigail’s eggs that I put in the other incubator about 12 days ago:

You can see a well-formed and intact air cell at the top of the egg. The blood vessels in the developing chorioallantoic membrane are also visible.

It is still a longshot that we will actually be able to hatch any goslings, but so far everything is moving in the right direction with Abigail’s eggs.  Now that the weather is warming up, we have stopped collecting the eggs she is laying in hopes of enticing her to sit on a clutch and hatch them the old-fashioned way!

Gamera’s downfall. Plus a Tomahawk trap review


Gamera’s love of fresh fish has led to his downfall.

We bought a made-in-the-USA Tomahawk turtle trap which can be used for trapping turtles up to 100 pounds.


We ordered online directly from the company and the cost was around $150 including shipping. It arrived within a few days and included a booklet that was part catalogue and part how-to manual explaining what kinds of bait to use, trap placement and so on.

Phil baited the trap with fish, secured it to the trunk of a river willow on the bank, and submerged the trap leaving one edge above water so the captured turtle wouldn’t drown if he was trapped in the middle of the night.


He then set out in the boat looking for the snapper to see if he could shepherd him toward the trap.

The turkeys, who delight in harassing Uncle Waldo, the duck-n-geese flock alpha, through the duck yard fence…


“Hey, are you talkin’ to me?”

…took a break from the thug life to survey Phil’s activities from the shade of a bench near the pond bank.


“It’s not a gang, it’s a club!”

Lo and behold, fifteen minutes later, look who dropped by with a hankering for fish!


Look at that sharp beak:


And claws:


Since no one here expressed an interest in eating him (thank goodness, since the task of figuring out how to cook him would’ve fallen to me), he was released into the swampy lake near Phil’s aunt’s house just down the road.

Sayonara, snapper!

Which meant it was finally Duck Liberation Day!


The flock was duly released onto the pond. They were very hesitant but eventually made it in, though they stayed very close to shore.


Our review of the Tomahawk trap is a positive one. The company delivered the item ordered quickly and it worked well. Our only complaint is that there is not a separate compartment to put the bait in, but we put it in a mesh bag in the back of the trap, and that worked ok.