Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hatching a Goose

A little over a month ago, I got a phone call from a friend. She was really, really excited because she'd gotten a line on some really exotic eggs, and wanted to hatch them. She asked if I would be willing to hatch some, since I am really good at incubating, and her incubator wouldn't have room for all.  I said sure, I'll take 7.  I thought it was some exotic breed of chicken.

goose egg on right, chicken eggs on left
She arrived at my house a couple hours later with a big box. Inside the box were what looked like dinosaur eggs. They were ENORMOUS. It turns out they were Sebastopol Goose eggs. After googling "Sebastopol Goose", I was INCREDIBLY excited to hatch. However, I quickly realized my little brinsea could not hold 7 goose eggs.

doesn't fit

I'd been given a styrofoam "Farm Innovators" that was forced air, and I was assured it was wonderful. I took 6 eggs and started incubating.

At day 7, I saw this beautiful egg.  The rest were clear. I was really, really devastated. I normally have wonderful hatch rates. I do know that the people who sold my friend the eggs didn't know how to treat them. They'd been left outside for a while, and when they DID find them, they stuck them in fridge. Neither of which is how I'd prefer a hatching egg be treated. Even worse, my friend was hatching 24 and not a single one of hers developed.

Goose eggs take 28 days to hatch.  Life has been busy, and I had a couple of school hatches going on, so I was somewhat distracted, even though I turned the goose egg a few times a day.

Egg was supposed to hatch on Tuesday, April 29. I candled it then, and it was still alive and wiggling, but not looking ready to hatch. By this time, my Brinsea had been freed up, so I moved it over to that.  The egg was at the school. Friday came, and NOTHING. I didn't want to leave it at school over the weekend, so I decided to take it home. As I checked it before I left, I heard it cheep! I could also feel the goose moving from within the egg. From this, I knew that it had internally pipped. I'd heard that oftentimes, geese need help pipping because their shells are sooooo thick and hard. Do I help or no? Decisions, decisions.

I fretted all day Friday, and had strange, disturbing dreams that night. Saturday, I was going to be gone all day.  My wonderful husband, who tolerates my chicken habit really well, texted me the following picture Saturday.

Now, I had a whole new thing to fret about. Do I help or no? Experts told me not to worry until Monday, so I resolved not to interfere until Monday.

Saturday night, the pip looked exactly the same. I went to bed late, figuring nothing would change by morning.

I was woken up bright and early Sunday by excited children, telling me the goose was about to hatch! I turned on the webcam, and the goose hatched within 20 minutes. I was amazed at how HUGE the chick was. I was also blown away at how much I loved this chick.

Confession: I have never been crazy about geese. I think they are mean. I don't think they look as evil as, say, emus, but I've never been a big fan. But, within 5 minutes of meeting this gosling, I was mentally thinking of adding a pond to my yard and keeping it, even though I'd promised to give it back to my friend.

Not only was the little gosling adorable, but it actually likes people. I was trying to take a picture of it, and it would waddle over to me as fast as it's legs could carry it, wanting me to hold it.

I've since (kind of) come to my senses. I will give it back to my friend because I am an honest and ethical person. It's staying at the elementary school this week, and then will go home this weekend. It's been hanging out with some french black copper marans chicks. At first, they weren't sure what to make of it, but they've come around.

The goose answers to several names, including: Goostav, Gus (pronounced "goose"), Ryan, Princess, and Yellow.

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