The first winter with our goose Victoria she laid eggs and stubbornly sat on them in a nest she built with straw and snow under our front porch. Over the Christmas weekend we saw the first egg from Victoria. We took them away from her because they were, of course, not fertilized and also because we wanted her to sleep in the barn at night. The following days we saw her again sitting stubbornly on her nest only to find out she had brought a pine cone to sit on.
A year later we decided that she looked a little lonely, often standing in front of our cars, gazing at her reflection. Therefore, we adopted Benedict--a scared and loud gander. But they were two peas in a pod, inseparable from day one. They made quite a sweet pair even if he was very unsure of us.
Late winter/early spring of this year, Victoria brooded on six eggs. We were very unsure of her fertility because part of the reason we adopted her was because the farm found her "useless". We gave her six weeks on the eggs before taking them away. They were all duds. But part of us wanted to give her a second chance. And she also really wanted a second chance. And even though there was a high chance that she/they were not really capable of creating a family, we had this feeling . . . this hope . . . this intuition.
The second time she brooded on eggs, four successfully hatched! We were so pleasantly surprised. We discovered the four goslings the morning after the ballet performance Bizet + Ballet. Completely exhausted from the day of rehearsals and the evening of the performance, Pascal took my hand and led me to the barn. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these incredibly bright yellow fluff balls.
They were a very happy family. Both parents participated equally. Together they strolled on the grass and played in the pool. But Instagram is not reality. About a week later we found to smooshed goslings in the barn. Luckily and completely by chance, a farmer friend was visiting and told us that it's quite normal: geese parents (likely the gander) have such large feet and often accidentally squish their babies to death. Even though the gosling is wiggling and screeching for dear life, they either don't notice or don't pick up their feet in time.
Obviously, we found this horrific and quite disappointing. We wondered if it wasn't because they were first time parents. Either way, we were encouraged to separate the goslings from the parents, at least at night when they were all in the barn together. We decided to put the goslings with our baby chicks in the chicken coop until they were tall enough to safely sleep with their parents.