How to get your geese in the mood for love
Breeding season usually heats up towards the end of winter start of spring, so making sure you have your geese as prepared as possible will be the difference between a successful breeding season and an unsuccessful breeding season. If you’re going to pair off breeding mates it’s best to do so around 3 months before the breeding season, as it gives them time to become comfortable with each other.
If you’re planning to flock mate it’s not as important and you can group your breeding flocks as late as a month out from breeding season.
Once you’ve decided how you are approaching breeding with your geese there’s a few tips I’ve taken the time to put together for you that will help your birds get in the mood. No it’s not a mix tape of love making songs, it’s much better.
Where’s the eye candy?
If you’re wanting help getting your females in the mood there’s nothing like a bit of eye candy to get the blood pumping. Take a few of the older ganders out that have been doing it for a number of years and add some younger ganders in to the flock. Having the younger ganders strut their stuff in the flock excites the females and they won’t be able to help themselves.
The younger geese will generally reach their peak in fertility and egg production between 2 – 6 years old. Once they start getting closer to 12 years these things will naturally start to slow down.
Cougars need love too
You can also do the same if you’ve got some older females that you want to breed with. Add them to your younger flock, because not only will it help the older females get more excited… but the benefit of putting younger inexperienced ganders in with the older females is they can help with teaching them the ropes. Especially in the heavier breeds, because ganders don’t tend to become really fertile until their second year of breeding.
Doing this is good training for them and helps get the older females in the mood when they’re reintroduced back in to the flock with the more experienced ganders. There’s nothing like a bit of young blood to help ruffle the feathers.
It’s not as important in the lighter breeds like Chinese, or Sebastopols geese as they tend to always be up for it.
Lose some weight fatty
In the months before the breeding season it’s good to lower their weight a bit. Let them out to graze more and back off on the constant supply of feed. This helps them become more mobile and generally have more energy. Then as you enter the breeding season it’s time to amp up the feeding again. This gets them in prime breeding condition so they build up the minerals they need for producing better eggs, better fertility, better hatchability and stronger goslings. Kind of like when women change their diet and take certain tablets in the lead up to getting pregnant to help ensure a healthy baby.
But you’re my soul mate
If you’re separating a breeding pair that you may have had the year before and joining them with new partners then you need to create a good amount of distance between the original mates. Enough so they can’t call out to each other. Geese can be incredibly faithful to their original mate, so if you’re trying to breed them with a new goose or gander and they can hear their original breeding partner it will kill the mood. The new pairs that you’ve put together often won’t mate if this happens.
So if you create enough space between the original pair, there’s much more chance of breeding being successful.
In flock mating it’s not quite as important, but still can have an effect, so if you have separated old breeding partners in to separate flocks it’s best to keep enough distance in those flocks to avoid them being able to call out to each other. Then sometimes love will find a way and it doesn’t matter what you do… if they’re committed to each other it can be best to just leave them together, unless there’s a reason you really don’t like the mating match up.
Finally you could try to put them in a flock together and some other gander will probably end up mating with the female anyway.
Kids – The number one mood killer
Also another very important tip is – if you’re hatching gosling in an incubator and are keeping them near the flock, it’s best to make sure that they can’t hear the goslings. We all know there’s no mood killer as powerful as kids. Plus geese are very family orientated, so if they can hear the goslings calling out then they’ll want to get in to protect them.
Note – If you’re looking for guard geese for your new goslings let the adults run along side the opposite side of the fence with them and you’ll see which ones go in to protect them and you can put them with them when their out free ranging and they’ll protect them from predators
Pool Parties – Need I say more?
A lot of people think geese need water to mate in. This is not necessarily the case. They will mate anywhere… the middle of the paddock, on the road, wherever. They will though mate more frequently if there’s the presence of fresh water. It doesn’t need to be a big body of water. It could be as simple as a puddle in a paddock, or a little kiddy pool. They don’t have to get in, just seeing the other geese flap around in there is aphrodisiac enough… kind of like a teenager at a pool party.
The most common question I’m asked is ‘Do geese mate for life’ and my answer always is ‘ It’s about the same as humans’. Some will find a mate they stick with for life and others like to float around and play the field.
One of the first pairs of geese I had showed me how faithful they can be. I noticed the gander hadn’t left the nest in the paddock for a couple of days. He wasn’t even leaving to eat or drink, so I went to investigate why only to find that the female had died on the nest. He just stayed there fending off anything that came near the nest and wouldn’t leave her side for anything. When I realised she’d died I had to remove her so the gander would start eating again. After that he would never mate with another goose, so I kept him as a rarer for the goslings that came through each year. This was an unusual case, but there are circumstances that geese will mate for life.
I tell you this story to show you how important it can be when mixing up pairs to seperate old pairs properly. It will just make life a whole lot easier.
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