The stories, travails, mistakes, successes; the journey of a change in lifestyle for two would-be market farmers and permaculturists.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Got geese!

Well, we still don't know if we are moving or not.  We had a lot of activity right from the start of listing the property.  Lots of showings, and several offers.  We finally accepted an offer at the beginning of the year, but it  was contingent on the buyers selling their house.  That has not gone as we had hoped, and now we have to decide whether to push on or not.  We had been experimenting with where to go with our interests, and as things have evolved, the fascination with rare, endangered poultry breeds has risen to the top.

In order for us to continue with that we need to start considering more housing, and once that starts, we probably will give up on moving to a larger acreage.  This place is beautiful, and we have spent many years making improvements to the land, so if we stay, it will be ok.  So, we will have to see what the next couple of months bring.

In the meantime, the poultry breeding season has been in full swing for some time.  The birds don't read contracts, or know about people's plans.  They just do as they do.  Our whimsical geese, the very, very rare Cotton Patch, have started hatching their little ones.  Their breeding season actually started in February, and the first egg was laid on February 24.  It was getting down to 16deg. at night then, so those first eggs were brought in to the house and stored until I had 5 from each pair.  They were then taken to a friend to be incubated, and I kept storing eggs until it warmed up.  I then put those eggs in the nest, and the girls continued to lay.  Finally, they had decided it was time, and first one, and then another settled on to their nests to do their own incubation.

A couple of weeks ago, the eggs that went into the incubator hatched, and out of 10 eggs, we only got 3 goslings.  Goose eggs are often hard to hatch artificially, so we felt lucky to have those.  Then, Tuesday night, I noticed Jezebel, who had started setting first had changed demeanor, and I could hear the distinct sounds of a gosling trilling.  They make the most charming, distinct sound.  It is very soothing.  I could see underneath her wing an empty egg, and as she let me come close to her, could see a little chartreuse baby.

All through Wednesday (28 days after she started) little goslings started appearing.  By that evening, there were heads poking out from under Jezebel everywhere!  In all, she had 9 goslings and one unhatched egg, which had not been fertile.  This was a big surprise, since she only had 8 eggs in the nest when she settled.  She must have laid 2 more after that.  So, besides the 10 eggs that she had been setting on, there were also the first 5 that I took out, for a total of 15.

Tonight, Twinkle's demeanor changed.  She has always been a nervous mama, not letting me get close and chattering away.  But, while we were out stringing electric wire to make sure no predators have baby goose lunches, she started alternately hissing and being very still.  I will assume that she will have goslings tomorrow, be continued.

They still have little "egg" shapes

Dad finally takes a look!

Showing off and playing in the rain water already

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