Saturday 25 May 2013

A Gosling Hatch but then more Drama than you Need.

No pictures on the gosling yet - it all happened a bit fast and we were not grabbing cameras. In brief (well, fairly brief) we'd been talking to Carolyn today and we were all feeling a bit downbeat about gosling hatches, this being Day 31 and no action yet. Then Liz was taking a breather in the back yard after a long day (of which more later) and she suddenly heard a commotion in the goose house - hissing and honking. We could see a little wet newly hatched gosling in one of the nests and jumped to the conclusion that the geese might be fighting over it. We raced to try to separate the geese by sliding a camping table in between the nests but only ended up causing more excitement, trauma and everybody jumping off the nests and racing out to meet the gander who had by now come running at all the noise.

Everybody calmed down and eventually returned to the goose house but nobody seemed to want to go near this new, wet, wriggling cheeping 'monster' who had suddenly appeared in the nest. We now think the hissing was probably the geese's first sighting of the 'thing' and horrified reaction. Both geese were now trying to get in the same nest box to the left of the new barrier, and no-one was going to get back onto the gosling. The Gander leaned over him and hissed, and everyone was getting a bit fired up again. I quietly removed the table/barrier in case it was that causing the problem, but then both geese and the gander took to looking at the nest in horror, hissing and occasionally seeming to take a tentative peck at the gosling.

This was not looking good. I backed off in case they might settle, but ten minutes later the gosling was in the middle of the floor, 4 feet from the nest having presumably been flung there by the gander. He looked a bit red, bruised and pecked about one flank. I needed to intervene in case he got killed. I rescued him/her and sought help from Carolyn who was closest. She advised I bring him quickly to her place where there are ducklings under an Infra Red heat lamp and an incubator also with duck eggs. The little Fiat turned ambulance as we raced down the lane. Suffice to say little gosling is now safe and warm in the incubator and Carolyn reports that an hour or so later he is lifting his head, which is a good sign.

We must now keep a careful eye on developments and we need to decide whether this the result of under-developed maternal instincts in the geese, none of whom are a year old yet. If so we should grab up any more eggs that hatch or potentially all the eggs and certainly be on station to rescue any more goslings who get ejected from the nest. They can be kept warm in the airing cupboard or a brooder-box or, in emergency I can do more ambulance runs.

On a happier note I FINISHED DIGGING THE POND today. At 6 m wide and 10 m long it has been a real labour of love which I have tackled at an hour a day and it has taken several months. It is finally there and ready for its butyl rubber liner and some water. It is a relief to get this far. We have done ponds before several times, but never a monster this big.

The horses got a nice treat today, being given the long lush grass between the orchard and the 'Secret Garden' today. We tethered each to a fence post so that they could just about reach each other if they needed to but they could also graze the whole width of this grass strip. They pile into the grass, especially, we have noticed, Bob (the pale Mini-Shetland furthest from the camera in this shot) and fill their bellies up tight, then all take a lie down. Carolyn had warned us about this which is lucky because as Liz says, having read very little about horses and knowing even less, lying down means colic and trauma and get the vet QUICK. These guys are very happy to be led back to 'their field' at the end of the day, where they go for a play-fight run about, racing round the field in great galloping arcs. They are little charmers.

Another gang getting more space today were the 8 baby chicks and Broody Betty. These guys are nearly 5 weeks old now so will soon be fully free range but we opted for an intermediate stage and gave them a weld-mesh corral while they got used to being allowed out of the  rabbit run which has been home for their first few weeks. As I look now the picture has resized itself into landscape. If this is still the case as you look, I apologise. I will try to sort it out.

I also promised you a better picture of the Gander enjoying his enamel bath which he can now access via the pallet ramp and he loves it. I have given him an old car floor mat as a non-slip pad to help him get out - we had seen him struggling on the skiddy wet enamel. Now he confidently hops in and out and stays for a long time in there preening, splashing and probably keeping a supervisory eye on progress on the big pond. I am sure he will want to be our first customer and if he could just hold off killing any goslings till we get it filled, he can even lead them out onto the water in a picturesque convoy. We wonder will that happen?

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