Failed Hatch

For those of you waiting for the news of our second hatching of goslings, we’re sorry to say that the goslings never made it.

I blame it on stress. When we hosted the Wasatch Community Gardens farm and garden tour Ethel had one more week to go on her eggs. We erected a temporary fence to keep people away from her corner of the yard. But there were still hundreds of people coming through and Fred and the goslings hung back behind the fence, visibly bothered by the intrusion. The next day we had a party at our house – more people, more noise.

It was immediately after that weekend that we noticed when Ethel came off the nest to eat and drink she did not rush back to her eggs. I took to herding her back to her nest. But she would often only stand over it, refusing to sit.

By the second day of this we removed the eggs from the nest. We had a newly broody hen and decided to finish off the hatching with her. We had candled the eggs and the shadow showed that they were only a few days from hatching. Momma hen sat on the eggs for another seven days before we gave up.

I can’t really say why they didn’t hatch. It could have been that they got too cold when Ethel refused to sit and maybe we waited too long to turn them over to the hen. It could have been that Ethel’s nest wasn’t clean enough and the babies were too ill to make it. I still blame myself partially for the failed hatch. I believe that she would have staid on the nest if she had not been so agitated by the busy weekend we had.

Our successfully hatched goslings from earlier this spring are still healthy and strong. They are starting to honk and are very near the size of their parents. They seem to be a little bored and have taken to nibbling on anything in sight, kind of a goosy characteristic. Today I had to cage off the grapevines on the side of the house because they started to peel the bark off the base of the vines. They can be destructive creatures. I hope that the birds haven’t already compromised the vines so badly that they wither this winter.

And one last thing. About the photo that accompanies this post. At the beginning of the summer, Ben tilled the barren plot in our backyard where the bird pen was previously situated, and we planted cow peas, buckwheat, hard red winter wheat and clover there. It grew phenomenally quickly. Every once in a while, we release the ducks and geese in there to graze. They love it!