Sunday 26 May 2013

(Not So) Lucky.

As promised some pictures of our first gosling 'Lucky' now warm and dry, safe and sound after his scary start. If you've not read yesterday's post you will not know that this little guy (we have no idea of sex yet, so he's a 'guy' till proven otherwise - it saves all that clumsy him/her, he/she nonsense) did not have a very promising start. His parents are all young birds, not even a year old and have (not surprisingly) not apparently developed a good parent instinct yet.

This baby hatched at about 5 pm yesterday and we only found out because of a sudden cacophony of hissing and honking in the goose house. When we went to look we at first thought the 2 geese might be fighting over the chick but it seems that, rather, the three grown ups were shocked and horrified at this wet wriggling, cheeping 'monster' arriving in their nest without warning. The Gander raced in at the noise and everyone was suddenly charging out of the goose house and off for a shout around the garden.

Nobody wanted to go back in 'THERE' and face the thing, so there was a risk he'd get cold. Eventually they all did go back in but would not get back on his nest. They stood back at full neck range and hissed at him and looked as if they were going to try a few tentative pecks. The next time I looked he was 4 feet from the nests (which now had the Mums sitting on them looking a bit breathless and ruffled but at least they were on). He looked a bit bruised and still wet, as if he'd been flung there, maybe by the Gander, perhaps mistaking him for a rat.

Thank God then for our helpful friends, Mentor Anne with lots of advice and Carolyn who already had an incubator running with duck eggs and a brooder-box with an Infra Red heat lamp shining on a group of ducklings. He was rescued and rushed down there where he is now doing OK and starting to get some strength in his legs. This takes a couple of days in geese, by all accounts, possibly as a result of them being so scrunched up in the egg and is helped, in nature, by them being close enough to water to go for some physio-therapy swimming. Meanwhile they flop about on their bellies on land building up their strength. Lucky is in with the ducklings but protected from getting trampled by the comparatively active ducklings by being mainly in his own plastic tub. We went down to visit him this morning and take these pics, and he's already starting to rear up on his legs and climb out of the tub. He has had a swim in the (bathroom) bath for his physio. Nurses Carolyn and Charlotte are very happy with him.

Meanwhile, what of the other eggs and those disastrous parents? Well, we have offers of incubation for all the remaining eggs if it comes to that (They are nearly 'cooked' anyway being on Day 32, so this would only have to be for a couple of days) or of just any that start to pip and look like they might also get rejected. There is a chance that after the first horror-struck rejection, any 2nd and third babies might be better accepted but we are under strict instructions to keep a close eye and intervene if that is not the run of things. Any more rescues can be whizzed down to Carolyn's to go stay with Lucky. They see this as fair enough given that we are looking after their 3 mini-horses. Thank you very much, C, C and M-A. It's all quiet at the moment. No more hatches as far as we can tell (as at 13:30 on Sunday) so the Mums are sitting quietly as they have done for 32 days, and the Gander is mooching about quietly just staying in range and keeping an eye. We have no idea whether we will even get any more babies hatching.

Meanwhile I couldn't resist another picture of the Disastrous Dad enjoying his bath yesterday before all this kicked off.

Oh and the 'Lucky'? I commented to Liz that it was lucky she'd chosen to take a break in the back yard just at that moment of the honking and shouting, otherwise the baby would have been lying there on the concrete till morning, presumably chilled to death. "We'd better call him 'Lucky' then!" said Liz. Then, to cap it all, the song playing on the radio as I drove to 'A&E' was that catchy "Up all night to get Lucky" by Daft Punk and Pharrel. Not sure if those boys are thinking of the same kind of 'luck' but we'll gloss over that!

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