A Simple Guide to Hatching Goose Eggs
Hatching goose eggs is a great way to start your own flock if you don’t want to purchase the geese themselves and wait for nature to take its course. Before you even begin, you want to make sure that you have the proper space for geese and that you are ready to take care of their unique needs. Geese are larger and a lot friskier than chickens, so most people who decide to take them on live on farms rather than just having them about their suburban homes.
You should also be prepared to devote the extra time that it will take caring for the eggs and the eventual goslings, should you be successful. This is a significant time commitment—just as all newborns are—so you really need to prepare yourself upfront for the responsibility.
If you are still with me, then here is what you will need to do:
Purchase the Eggs and the Hen who will Do the Mothering Work
If you own a farm and already have a hen that is ready to brood, then you are more than half way there already. If you own neither hen nor a coop, then you will need to get the coop built first and then you will be ready to start thinking about the inhabitants. If you already have a chicken coop, then you probably don’t need to make too many adjustments for the eventual geese unless your chickens are rather cramped in a small space. If this is the case, you will need to find a way to widen the coop as geese take up more room.
Next, you will need to find the goose eggs. You should go to a reputable, trustworthy dealer for this purpose. Of course, if you have a friend who already has a flock and they are willing to donate some charity eggs for your purposes then you have little to lose. When you do get the eggs, you will want to make sure that they are fertilized eggs rather than the omelet making kind.
Hatching goose eggs like all forms of reproduction is largely a waiting and preparing game. It takes goose eggs about a month (4 to 5 weeks) before they are ready to hatch. During this period, you will need to help your hen properly to take care of the eggs. Like most expectant mothers, she needs to be pampered. Make sure you keep her drinking water and food close and full so that she has little reason to go foraging. A hen on walk-about is a hen that may fly the coop. So give her as few reasons for looking for greener pastures as possible.
You do, however need to make sure that you give her enough time every day to stretch her tail feathers. While she does this, you want to take the opportunity to turn the eggs so that they do not stay in the same position the entire waiting period. The hen will not do this because goose eggs are simply too large for her to handle.
Final Preparations—Watering the Eggs
The week before you expect to see hatching goose eggs is when you need to start taking a more active role in preparing the way. During this week, you will want to start sprinkling hot water on the eggs when turning them. This recreates the experience of geese in the wild where the returning parents water their eggs. Some recommend that you fully submerge the eggs on the day before you expect a hatch, but this is an unnecessary and potentially dangerous activity—use your discretion.
When one of the hatching goose eggs actually produces a gosling make sure to remove the little guy right away or the hen may think it is time to go on vacation after her extra long labors. Remove the goslings to a warm safe place and be sure to read up on what you need to do to take care of these little cuties properly in their early days.
Then enjoy your new flock of geese.