Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The geese they are a-laying

....or rather the one female goose is! And what a  surprise it was when she produced this egg:


And on Hubs' birthday too which pleased him greatly having been informed by the French farmer who sold the three geese to us that they would not lay until Spring, and that they would need a pond to procreate. Well ours didn't need a pond. They seem to be managing in the plastic trough which is just below my washing line in the photo below:

And what the two boys are doing here is prancing about in the Courtyard telling the World that an egg is being laid. Now wouldn't you think that if an egg is on the way, that it should be done discreetly so no one knows about it? And the hens are the same. They make such a fuss when eggs are going to be laid, or about to be laid, or have been laid. We hear the news. So do others, like Bools, Gus, the crows, and the magpies. Often it was a race as to who would get to the egg first during Spring and Summer. I think, in the end, that it was fair shares all round.

Hubs was so happy about that goose egg arriving, and chatted on about how nice it would be to have lots of geese about the place. However: uno problemo.
For one: The nest is right by the front gates:

Aw, but she does look sweet tucked up beside the straw bales.

And so does this little black hen tucked up nearby.......

.......as does this hen up top of the bales. Can't see her? Not surprising as she decided to nest build inside the paper sack which was half full of hay waiting to be given to the rabbits. She has now been moved into the Tall Barn, my thought being that there was no way that little chicks were going to get on to the ground safely, should there indeed be any little chicks happening. And there has been one arrival at least because we heard chirpings yesterday.......

But back to the problemo. I foresaw a difficulty happening. I have been told that geese can hiss. Hubs say they do because he has been hissed at already. I have not been. A friend who has geese has also gathered unto himself some bruises from his male goose and another friend said she had to get rid of her male goose because it was attacking everyone. Presumably the males protect the females. Our female is sitting right by our front entrance gates.

So what would happen if we wanted to go to and fro the gates, which we do frequently during the day. And what would happen if someone came to the gates to visit with us, or came through the gates to get to our front door, which most do. Would we all be under attack from those two male geese as they stand guard over their girl on her nest.

With these thoughts bubbling around in my head, I therefore vetoed Hubs' plan for increasing our goose population, and the egg was removed from the nest and taken indoors. It was huge.

However....Hubs hatched another plan, which was to collect the eggs and put them in the incubator. So an autre problemo. I tend to be the one to whom the responsibility of the incubator falls. I turn the eggs several times during the day, not quite trusting the turning capability of the incubator. I am the one who keeps checking on the temperature and moisture levels. I am the one who then tends the hatchlings...getting them to have their first drink, making sure they are comfy, etc. And when outside, I am the one to whom they come for food. I am the one whose lap they fly on to. I am the one who is their mum for a while.

Do I want to do this with goslings? No. I do not see myself as a gosling mum, with those goslings following in line behind me wherever I go about the petite ferme. Already I have the dogs and chickens and geese keeping me company. Enough!

We eat the eggs. Problem solved. Was reluctant to break open the shell at first though. Had to ask Hubs to do it. Why? Because I half expected something, like a tarodactyle baby, to leap out at me. Ridiculous I know! But still that thought was in my head. I am not used to big eggs. But then it took a few crackings of our hen eggs before I felt comfortable about doing so. I kept thinking something was going to jump out of them as well. After all, for most of my adult life I have been purchasing shop bought eggs which I never had any thoughts about at all although I did buy free range whenever possible. But once the eggs were in the kitchen, I regarded them as ingredients for whatever food I was making. I never connected them with a hen's bum.

So for the moment we are in goose egg production, with five having arrived, three having been eaten by us, one eaten by Gus (our spaniel) although he might have raided more from the nest, and one waiting to be eaten which is safely indoors.

And with a whisper of a thought drifting about in my head that perhaps, just perhaps, I might have a go at incubating goose eggs at some point in the future I am off into my day...another wet day judging by the rain thundering down on the roof,..... and all the animals waiting to be fed and veggies waiting to be picked for lunch..... Oh the joys of smallholding in the wet!

PS. Have just found two more eggs in the nest which the goose had buried deep within the straw, and one hen's egg sitting on top. And the little black hen (the one on top of the straw bales) has hatched one little chick, and it looks like it is from the egg I put underneath her when she first started sitting on her nest. She already had a couple of eggs but she is tiny and I don't think Orpy, our huge cockerel, can manage to fertilise her. Most times she sort of gets squashed underneath him or else walks backwards through his legs when he is of a mind to do the bizness. So I put one of the other eggs underneath her and this is what has hatched.  

PPS. Everyone must have an inkling that cold weather is on its way because the hens have been laying siege to the front door wanting more food, the sheep have been making it known that they would prefer to be in another field as the one they are in is not to their liking, and the pigs have been rooting around in their paddock all day instead of sleeping the day away as is their normal habit. I guess that all are needing to put on some fat ready for the zero temperatures predicted. Perhaps that is why I felt the need to indulge in a choccie bar with Hubs!


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Love your posts, and yes it is getting colder! Have a great Christmas and we wish you a healthy and prosperous 2012. Diane

John Gray said...

crikey! goose eggs in december..... she's a real find!!!
and dont tell me about the wet....... my geese have webbed feet... ( duh!)

Duta said...

That's a big egg. I don't know why and where I got this idea that the smaller the egg the tastier it is. I buy them at the organic supermarket and usually choose the smaller size.

The goose in the second picture looks like a prima balerina ready to make a pirouette. Cute.

Ken Devine said...

I'll have to re-visit, Vera as I'm having a mad early spring cleaning session. Have a great Christmas and make sure you put your feet up for a few hours.

Vera said...

Duta, all the geese are like prima ballerinas! They glide when they walk fast and are graceful at all times. As for small eggs or large eggs, we are just grateful to get eggs at all!

Ken, hope you have a restful time as well and bon courage with the spring cleaning!

kking said...

hi do i need to put straw into my goose shed to influence her to lay eggs

Vera said...

kking, Since she needs something to make a nest out of I suppose that might not be a bad idea to put straw down for her, but our goose just raided the nearby straw bale for her nesting materials!