Well, we've added to the menagerie, again. Last night I picked up 3 baby geese, one African and two Toulouse. All females, according to their leg bands, and we'll see how accurate those bands are. We prepped the gosling brooder, and layered the bottom with shavings. Here's where the gosling suicide attempt came into play. The African promptly snapped up a bit of bedding and swallowed it, sort of. Actually, got that little bit of shaving stuck in her throat. She was shaking her head, falling over, and got all fuzzy like little critters do when they're not feeling good. She was peeping, but her peeps were wheezy. Great. Just great. I really wasn't up for another animal emergency. We pried her mouth open, and I could see a tiny corner of shaving down her throat. Nothing we could reach. Baby was getting weak, and looked to be giving up the fight. No way! No more dead fluffy babies! LJ held her still while I rubbed her throat. That got her fighting back. We set her down, and after a couple more throat rubs, she horked up some gunk. Seeming to be screeching more clearly, we got her back in the brooder (this time on paper towels), and she promptly drank a bunch of water. An hour later, she was just as feisty and vocal as her two companions. Disaster averted! Woohoo!
Other than the African's idiocy, the goslings are very sweet. They are huge, even though they are only a couple days old. They seem to enjoy being held, unlike the chicks who struggle and stretch their baby wings when you pick them up. The goslings snuggle down in your lap and tolerate scratches and pets. They screech when we put them back in the tub, and when they hear us come in the room. I never realized how dense their baby fluff was, so unlike the feathery fluff on chicks. The goslings are more furry than feathery. Odd texture. In any case, they are going to be getting lots and lots of attention, though I might need to start holding them on a towel. They let loose a stream of yuck down LJ's shirt last night. I laughed my butt off til they did the same to me. Definitely need a goose towel! :)
The coop is almost finished, as well as the run that the girls will be in until we can get the chicken yard fenced. We have decided to wait for a month or so before painting. The weather is so weird this time of year, and it won't hurt it to go unpainted for a bit. Hoping to get the run finished and get the Golden Girls out there tonight. Fingers crossed! The younger batch of chicks need to be moved to the bigger brooder, and I'm thinking about wrapping our Great Dane sized dog crate in cardboard and brooding the geese in there. Doggy secure, plastic tray bottom, and big enough for the three of them. It's an idea. Don't know if it is a good one, but definitely an idea. Gotta love it!
*** According to a message LJ just sent me, the little African girl is squawking to beat all this morning, and running around like a maniac. Woohoo!
5/10/11*+*+*+*+ I'm adding something extra to this blog post, because people seem to be accessing it by searching for info on what to put in their gosling brooder. Even knowing where their food was, our goslings persisted in nibbling on shavings. We ended up using the shavings for the chicks only. (Not absorbent enough for goose poop anyway, in my opinion.) We had the best success with pine pellet bedding. It's basically compressed sawdust pellets. Smells clean, and you can get extra time out of a round of bedding by stirring it up. The best part about the stuff is that if they did somehow eat a bit, I'd hope it would break down into passable particles, unlike wood shavings. I don't know if ours ever ate any, but I do know that it was more absorbent and smelled better. Whatever bedding you choose, make sure that your goslings have firm footing. Apparently, they can hurt their hips and legs pretty badly if they go spraddle-legged on a slippery surface (newspaper, for instance, would be a bad idea). It can be difficult to find goose info out there, as opposed to chicken or even duck info. A good site I've found is www.backyardchickens.com. In the community forum, there is a section just for geese. I've found a lot of useful info there.