12.17.2011

Project: Domestic Goose Nesting Boxes

Pic: these ain't "love" bites.
2012/02/06 Update to article: the geese are using these nest boxes, hooray!!

Soon it will be time to dust off the Kevlar arm braces and prep for egg gathering season! Depending on the weather, our geese start egg-laying anytime from Winter Solstice to late January, and will continue to lay eggs anywhere from April to late May. It's a dangerous time... if you're not a goose. The geese get wicked crabby, extremely territorial, and will gang-up, bite & wing-beat ANYTHING that gets anywhere near a nest. Our geese like to nest in areas they can defend from other animals (including each other), and wherever they're not supposed to be. We don't let this batch hatch little ones - too many genetic problems from the commercial breeder we bought them from - but we do gather and sell their fresh eggs. If Maggie didn't steal so many before we can get to them, one season's-worth of eggs would probably pay for their entire year of feed.

Pic: A-Frame nesting box.
Dave Holderread briefly discusses goose nesting options on pages 96-97 of his book "The Book of Geese". We decided to try out the A-frame nest box this year. The author also suggests setting the nesting boxes out several weeks early so the geese can get used to them - ahh, we may be cutting it a bit short. 

We put the new mitre saw to work on this project. Two pressure-treated 2"x4"s, cut 24" 30" long at the base and at a 30-degree angle. Two pieces of 24" 30" x 28(?)" outdoor plywood for the angled walls. We traced the outline of the back of the nesting box onto plywood to get the backing. A couple screws, some holes drilled into the backing for air flow, some caulking at the top to keep out water, and that was it. I staked down the front of the boxes with some bent rebar Spouse had laying around to keep any gusts of wind from tipping the shelter over. Dave Holderread suggested one box for every six to eight geese. We only have six females, but we went ahead and made four boxes - we've seen how our girls fight over nesting spots.

Pic: modified again goose shelter.
We also modified the big goose shelter (yet again). It's gone from having one opening, to three openings, to now having two openings. It is consistently ignored by the geese, although the chickens like huddle inside when it's raining. Spouse closed up the the middle opening and put in a divider wall down the center, so two geese can (hopefully) feel snug enough and private enough to nest in peace. Now there's six nice nesting boxes for them to use this year. Anyone care to take bets on whether they'll use these boxes or not? Anyone??


11 comments:

  1. Think I'll take a sit and watch the show. We have the wild geese that take over one of the parks in Maryville, year round. But spring seems to be the worst for bringing toddlers down there to 'feed the ducks' (some parents are a bit confused.) Between the agression and the mounds of poop... it's more fun standing on the bridge above and watching all those parents with white tennis shoes. LMAO!

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  2. The life force burns strongly in geese. Wow!

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  3. @WeldrBrat - I can only imagine how much more ferocious the wild geese can get!

    @Reya - you know it. It's why I'm in such awe of geese. Domestic geese have had some of the wild/cunning bred out of the them, but they're still utterly amazing.

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  4. So glad to see you in my comments this morning, Deb! I've missed you.
    Perhaps we can get back to some kind of regular back and forth in the coming year? I'd like that.

    Good luck with the new goose shelters. And be careful! :)

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  5. @Nancy - sent you an email, yes, let's chat again!

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  6. I love this post! My geese just started laying eggs this week (for the first time) and I've been trying to figure out how I want them to nest. We have goats, ducks, chickens, and sheep so keeping the eggs safe from crushing is important.

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  7. @prieta.com - congrats on the eggs! Hope your geese are nicer than mine during the laying season :-)

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  8. Hi there.
    My name is Kito Grova and I recently relocated to Central VA and me and my wife have now a small farm where we have 4 Geese, 10 chickens (the 10 Marias) & Cluck Norris (the fierce Rode Island Red Rooster)and 3 dogs.
    Loved your site and love your animals. I'm a fan from now on.
    A little detail:
    Emma might not be a Perinea Giant but a Portuguese breed called Serra da Estrela. A very unusual rare breed that is hard to find out of Portugal (or England where they also have many). At least that's what I think from the picture I saw.
    Find your site searching for Geese cradle nests and I really liked the project. Good luck for your egg production.
    I already subscribed, so I shall visit you more often from now on.
    Kito Grova

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    1. Thanks for the breed info for Emma, I'll look it up... and thanks for stopping by! Hope the nesting box article is useful for you. Central VA is beautiful, hope you enjoy your farm!

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  9. I"m so glad I found this site! I was actually looking for sites with information on toys for geese and this popped up. I will soon be adopting two juvenile Grey Dewlap Toulouse ganders, who were rescued from an owner no longer able to care for her animals. I already have ten Welsh Harlequins that I raised from ducklings I got this spring (ordered from Holderread's). I am about to send four extra drakes off to freezer camp, and keep the best one for breeding. We also have eight horses, two donkeys, two dogs and one cat. We live in very rural East Texas, and I am loving it. Moved here three years ago to help out my aging parents, and I'm having a ball!

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    1. "Freezer camp"... LOVE IT! Do you blog about your farm yet? I think you're very wise ordering from Holderread's, as we haven't had much luck with local commercial breeders - there's been genetic problems with each batch. The local vet thinks there may be brooder heat/humidity calibration issues going on. Anyhow...

      Glad you're enjoying East Texas! We moved to the Hill Country in 2007, and we love it.

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