Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Another Example of "It Takes A Village"

So call me crazy. Call me anthropomorphic. Maybe I am just reading too much into this but....

Bella, one of the female Sebastapol geese decided to set on eggs. Up to this point I have been collecting the eggs as they were laid because I read that if you got goslings the first year just count yourself as lucky since the boys are usually not up to the job. It just doesn't usually happen. It's not that they don't try. They're just not fertile yet which is probably true because I had two under a broody hen for 5 days and nothing was happening with them.  But Bella had two eggs and I had one that had not been refrigerated yet so I put that one in the nest too.

The two big ganders are standing guard just outside the gate when it's open and inside the run when they are locked up. Nothing too unusual about that other than the fact that they are working together to "kill" anything that comes near. The weird thing is that the other female, Mimi, seems to be helping Bella set on the eggs. She gets in the nest and sits then Bella gets off to go eat and walk around a bit. Sometimes for up to an hour. Then she goes back and Mimi gets off the nest and hangs with the boys or takes a bath in the pond.

This evening I went out to put the birds away for the night and feed them their usual rations. Normally they hog down the whole thing in 15 minutes. I tried to get Bella to come out and eat too but she would have non of that nonsense. About an hour later I happened to go out there and there was still food in the dishes. This alarmed me because to have food left usually means someone doesn't feel well. Then I looked in the nest. Mimi was on the nest again and Bella was eating while the boys watched. It was as if they saved it for her. Now, I know that geese have strong family ties and wild ones will cooperate when migrating by switching off flying the lead. A couple of geese will even leave a migrating flock to keep a sick or exhausted goose company until it either recovers or dies before migrating on and catching up with the pack. But this is really weird. Like I said call me crazy but this has been going on for two days so far. I don't think the eggs are viable and I would like to get in there to candle them but I will have to get past at least one of them (mom) to do that and although I have no doubt that I could but I would hate to disturb her and have her desert the nest if she had any good eggs. Guess I will just see if I get up the nerve. It would also help if it would quit raining so I didn't have to kneel in the mud!

(two days later)....
Yesterday Bella didn't leave the nest all day so when it was time to feed the geese I moved the feed dishes and water over to within about 5 feet of the nest to try and get her to come out and eat. The others ate but she stayed on the nest. She did stand up to check her eggs giving me the opportunity to see what was in there. She has 6 or 7 eggs that I can see!

I went back in to the house to continue making dinner and about 10 minutes later noticed that Bella was walking around the pen. So I went out to see where Mimi was and as I suspected she was on the nest. Ten minutes or so later Bella went back to the nest and Mimi was out with the boys again. I swear they are all doing the tag team parenting thing. This morning I noticed Mimi has made herself a sitting area just outside the nest box and is sitting with Bella. Gotta kinda wonder if she has eggs under there. I'll keep ya posted. Who knows maybe we will end up with baby Sebastapols!

Update on the baby ducks. They are growing so fast. Mother hen still fusses with them and bosses them around but they are at least as big as she is now. She finally gave up trying to get them to perch and she just perches next to the box where they spend the night. Because it is still pretty cold here I have been bringing the ducklings into the house for swimming lessons. (Alright, someone has to do it) They seem to take to it like a duck to water. Oh ya.....they are ducks. I gave my oldest the job of making sure they were good and dry before taking them back out to the coop.
Lucy was very interested in the bathing ducks

1 comment:

Izzy said...

Wonderful update! I hope you will be blessed with new goslings. I'd hate for your gaggle to go through all that and not have at least 1 hatch.