Yesterday was day 29 of incubation for the first batch of goose eggs of the year. By the end of the day, there were several external pips – goslings were on their way!
Waterfowl take their sweet time hatching. I’ve learned, over the years, that patience is a must. Let me be clear: this means waiting to assist until it is actually necessary. I am hands-on, so I assist if I think the gosling is having trouble, such as being improperly positioned to hatch in the egg (malposition).
Since this is Hatch Day, there are multiple external pips, indicating that the goslings in those eggs are preparing to escape the confines of the shell. Sometimes, the external pip – a hole through the outer shell that follows the “inner pip”, which is a hole the gosling makes first in the membrane between it and the shell – doesn’t get all the way through the thick membrane on the inner part of the shell. I keep an eye on these because there is a limited amount of air in the shell (even if they pip on the correct end where the air cell is located) and prepare to make a safety air hole by carefully piercing that “outer” membrane if needed.
At this point, however, all I need to do is monitor the humidity – which was increased with the first external pip – and temperature. If there are goslings who haven’t zipped (the process of cracking the egg around its perimeter with a gosling’s bill, the last step before hatching) by tomorrow, I’ll candle those eggs to see if anyone needs help.
The newly-hatched goslings may look wet and bedraggled now, but soon they’ll be fluffy and active, knocking the other eggs around and talking up a storm. This hatch was a relatively small one, but I already know that the hatcher is going to be a hot mess after the hatch – and that I’ll be scrubbing it out immediately afterward in preparation for the next hatch!