When you are waiting for baby geese on the farm, you have to be very patient! Did you know that a goose can take 1 to 2 weeks to lay an entire nest of eggs before they even begin the process of hatching them? The mommy goose will only lay 1 egg a day until her nest is full. She won’t sit on her eggs all day, every day until she has a full nest of approximately 5 to 12 eggs, depending on the variety of goose. But don’t worry because as long as the temperature does not fall below freezing, the eggs will be just fine without mommy sitting on them all of the time. When a mother goose’s nest is full of eggs, it is called a clutch. This is when she begins to sit on her eggs every day and brings them up to a warmer temperature, which starts the incubation process and we begin the 28 day gosling countdown! At this point mommy goose can no longer leave the nest for long periods of time, since the eggs now must stay at a warmer temperature consistently in order to continue to hatch in to baby goslings. Once the mother goose has laid all of her clutch she will sit on the eggs for 28 to 32 days straight before they will fully hatch. When she starts to sit on her eggs daily this is called brooding. Mommy goose will only leave for a short while every day to eat and swim.
Swimming is a very important activity for mommy goose to do. That’s when she gets water trapped in the feathers on her belly, and when she comes back to her eggs this provides them with moisture to make humidity. When you make humidity it creates heat to help warm the hatching eggs. As soon as her goslings hatch, mommy goose will lead them to the closest water supply to teach her babies how to swim and how to eat.
Baby goslings don’t have all of their warm feathers when they are first hatched so they need to stay warm at night by huddling under mom’s wing until they get warmer feathers! Most varieties of geese will be fully feathered by about 8 to 10 weeks. Goslings are able to fly once that happens. Once a year Adult geese will begin the molting process, losing their flight and tail feathers. During those 6 weeks they will stay near water to escape predators since they are unable to fly. Most geese will choose to stay together in a family known as a gaggle, even when they are all full grown. Did you know that geese have been known to use up to 10 different sounds to communicate with each other within their family! They grow very much attached to one another and will often times surround and protect a goose in their gaggle that may be hurt. Geese will choose a mate when they are about 3 years old and they will stay with that mate for life! Geese can have a life expectancy of 25 years, so a gaggle of geese may spend a whole lot of time together!
Stop by the farm and visit our local gaggle of geese family, I am sure that they would love to see you!