Friday, May 02, 2008

And gosling makes three.

I was happy to see this morning that our new gosling was safe and sound. Our goose and gander are very good and VERY protective parents. They seem quite pleased with their new charge. I am happy that at least one of their eggs produced for them... otherwise it would have been a lot of work for naught.

Just so you can all see that my fear of the gosling becoming a tasty snack for one of our LGD was/is not unfounded...

This is Emmie our Anatolian Shepard LGD. She has been following behind the goose family quite interested in the new gosling. If she gets any closer the gander displays and goes after her. Hopefully, their guard will not falter and we can watch the gosling grow up.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Our American Chinchilla rabbit doe, Purslane, has been doing a great job of raising up this latest litter of 10 kits. Today they are 19 days old. Sadly, this morning I found one of the kits dead. It was out of the nest box (as was another kit) and I have to assume it died of cold exposure overnight as no other signs of trauma could be seen. I would have figured that at this stage it would have been fine out of the nest box (I mean really, it is May 1st in NC) .

I tipped the nest box on its side so the kits can leave the box but still huddle together for warmth easily. Plus, with the box on its side, Purslane is able to get up and away from the kits for a needed rest once in a while too. I was sure I was past the point of concern over fatalities but I guess you never know.

We had some other accountable losses today too.

While down by the goat barn this afternoon I noticed that our goose was not in the nest box on her eggs. She often leaves her nest once a day to get a drink and connect with our gander who goes wild when she returns to him. But, since she wasn't currently in the box I took advantage and went and peaked inside to see if I could see the goslings that I spotted two days ago.

At first peak I just saw a nest of eggs but with some digging around I found one dead gosling in the back corner. There were two duck eggs in there so I moved them under the duck in the neighboring nest box. I also found a turkey egg in there. That left six goose eggs. One of the eggs had pipped out quite a bit but it didn't make it. The remaining five eggs felt heavy and not "sloshy" so I wasn't sure what to do with them. It has been two days since I first noticed a gosling in the box but it may have been longer as it was under the goose where I couldn't see it. I made the decision to crack a "pipped" size hole in one to see what was going on inside. What I found was an almost fully developed dead gosling. It had not yet pulled in its yolk sac so it died just days before pipping out. I opened the other 4 only to find more partially developed embryos. So, with that I cleaned out the box and lined it with fresh straw.

It was just about then that the goose reappeared honking at me for being close to her nest. And there, waddling behind her, was a single gosling. She stuck her head in the nest box in search of her eggs and after finding none she settled down in front of the boxes and snuggled her lone gosling under her wing. She wouldn't be able to return to the box anyway as the gosling would never be able to climb up into it.

I worry about such a little thing wandering around the pasture as it would be a perfect snack size morsel for our livestock guardian dogs, but if anyone could keep it safe from the dogs it would be a pair of geese.