We let Lucy Goosie try hatching some eggs, but (as expected) she seems to have failed. Our backup plan was to buy some goslings, brood them, and then turn them over to the geese to raise.
That seems to have been the ticket. We’ve had 15-20 or so goslings in the brooder, and then in a pasture pen with ducklings, for a couple of weeks now. But that pasture pen is getting crowded, so today I decided to try releasing ten goslings into pasture with the adult geese.
Our big hissy gander immediately stepped forward and claimed the goslings. Lucy Goosie wasn’t far behind. The goslings, for their part, have been stuck in their new parents’ gravitational pull all day. Remarkable how deep the instincts run, in both the adults and the goslings: the adults sense that these little creatures are “theirs,” the the goslings somehow know to follow the big geese and not the big ducks running around in the same pasture. And the big ducks, for their part, are showing no interest at all in the goslings. And, just like in the wild, both the goose and the gander raise the young together as a joint project.
Loads of fun watching the adult geese leading their new little brood around the pasture, grazing. I’m going to release the rest of the goslings tomorrow.