Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How We Helped a Gosling Hatch

 Last Wednesday morning, our Sebastapol geese's nest hatched and we were pleased to meet their two goslings. In the nest remained four unhatched eggs. Sometimes the unhatched eggs will hatch slightly later. If they don't, we candle the eggs to see if they are developing. If so, we move any viable eggs into another nest to have a shot at hatching. Most often, the unhatched eggs were either never fertilized or the embryo died at some earlier point of development. In either of those cases, the eggs have to be disposed of before they begin to rot.

Thursday evening, Sean checked the eggs to remove those that needed it and discovered an egg stalled in the hatching process. It was growing cold and the geese had already abandoned the remaining eggs in the nest, so we made the call to try to help this little one to hatch. We have had both success and failure at this, but weighed against doing nothing resulting in most likely it's death, we had to at least try.

It takes hours to help a bird to hatch. It must be done slowly, mimicking nature. Gentle tapping on the outside of the egg, stimulates the processes of closing off umbilicus and readying the chick for hatching. Care must be taken to not breech veins that might cause too much bleeding.

Helping this gosling was not without trouble. The first day, it was so weak that it could barely lift its head. Then, it developed splay-leg (or sprattle leg) and needed us to make braces from band-aids to align its legs properly for another 24 hours. It imprinted on Sonja. While that is sweet, it makes it hard to integrate the gosling back to its family.

This is what happened for us...

Morning snuggle buddy. #farmhairdontcare

Bath time! 

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