Get ready for goslings!

It is an exciting time here at Joanne & Richard’s home. It is nearly gosling hatching time. All the goslings to be hatched this year will come from our own Embden breeding geese!


Goose Towers chez Joanne. Admire the pallet shelf construction by Richard. The boxes are to keep direct sunlight off the eggs.

The first of our hatching goose eggs went from the bottom blue incubator (a wonderful Italian Corti Automatic incubator that gently turns the eggs back and forth) to the top white Chinese built incubator which was cheap as chips off ebay last year, and has proven to be remarkably effective!

During the final few days before hatching the eggs mustn’t be turned, so the goslings can turn themselves round inside the shell and get ready to “pip”, i.e. make the first air hole in the shell. This is exhausting work and they then rest for up to 24 hours before actually hatching out. This is why they go into the top incubator, with strips of towel soaked in water to raise the humidity, and which doesn’t have a turning mechanism. That way we can keep loading new eggs into the other incubators: their combined maximium goose egg capacity is 40 and our ladies are still laying eggs almost daily!

Before putting our first 7 eggs into the hatching incubator I “candled” them to check all was well (once again a gadget from Richard: a birthday present during my utterly impecunious first years of running the farm). Here is a newly hatched egg compared to a 25 day incubated one.

A newly laid egg being candled.

A newly laid egg being candled.

A 25 day incubated egg being candled.

A 25 day incubated egg being candled. The shadow is the gosling.

See the darkness of the little gosling inside? A couple of the nine eggs hadn’t developed properly, so they don’t go into the hatching incubator to avoid contaminating the healthy ones, hence the seven eggs in there.

Our first seven eggs in the hatching incubator

Our first seven eggs in the hatching incubator

This is all the peeking I am allowed to do, from the outside of the incubator. It is important to leave the incubator closed to keep the humidity and temperature constant during this final stage, and luckily the ever-ingenious Richard has built sensors that put the crucial humidity and temperature figures live on the internet for us all to see! If you want to learn more about how he did this visit Oak Tree Labs. For those of us who just want to check the goslings are ok, here is just the regults (the hatching incubator is #1 at time of posting):

24 hours after hatching the goslings will go up to the farm to the new brooder, complete with gas heater and yet another Richard gadget to report the temperature on another web graph – amazingly transmitted via radio, then SMS message, and finally made available on the web. The sensor is this tiny wireless box which I have been told to clean the goose crap off before I give it back! This is wonderful as I can then relax, and know that the goslings are fine in between our regular checks on them. I’ll post you a link to that when the first goslings move in.

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