Mother Goose she’s not

Our lady goose, Manet, has been sitting off and on in the corner between the foundation of the house and the front porch for the past two weeks or so.  She usually spends her nights here, and her beau, Lautrec, stands guard and honks loudly at all passers-by, sometimes even positioning himself on our front porch, I assume for the better vantage point.  The pair frequently try to chase me from my own front yard with little success.

This Sunday, while Alston was asleep in his car seat and we were enjoying a rare moment of childless daytime, Will noticed two eggs in this general vicinity.  I grabbed a towel, so as not to get my human stink on them, and placed them in the corner, only to notice that under a pile of leaves were at least six other eggs.  It appears Manet has been busy.

But why wasn’t she sitting on them full-time?  What’s with all the gallivanting off with Lautrec and the long swims in the pond?  Or worse, the naps in the front yard that could totally be taken while incubating my future Christmas dinner?

We called our friend Sarah, the real mom of these geese, and she said that Manet won’t sit on her nest until she’s done laying, so we shouldn’t be panicked yet.  However, she’s only ever successfully hatched out one gosling which ultimately died, so she doesn’t have a winning track record.

I’m tempted to buy an incubator and try to salvage as many goslings as we can, but that means dealing with turning eggs twice a day for a month and two months of hatchlings under heat lamps.  I had fantasies that as long as I owned a boy and a girl and kept them in a relatively predator-free zone flush with food and water, I could let nature take its course.  If anyone has any advice on breeding geese au naturale, I’d really appreciate a point in the right direction.

I so don’t want an incubator, even though I expect I’ll be singing the same tune when we try to hatch out our first homegrown chicks in another month or two.  Did we breed the ability to breed out of domestic birds, or am I just naive about how difficult this is supposed to be?

This is what happens when you make farming decisions based on aesthetics.


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