Goose eggs require high temperatures and high humidity to hatch. You can use an incubator to hatch eggs or opt for a more natural method, depending on available resources.
Method 1 of 3: Collecting Goose Eggs
Step 1. Add eggs in spring
In the Northern Hemisphere, most goose breeds start laying their eggs in March or April. However, Chinese breeds start in winter, around January or February.
Note that these months will change if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. Most breeds lay eggs in August or September, while Chinese breeds lay in June and July
Step 2. Collect eggs in the morning
Geese usually lay their eggs in the morning, so you must collect them at the end of it.
- You should also collect eggs at least four times throughout the day to catch any eggs that arrive at unusual times.
- Don't let the geese swim in the morning, at least until you collect the eggs. Otherwise they could break.
Step 3. Provide nest boxes
Line each box with soft seating material such as sawdust or straw.
- The use of nest boxes prevents further breakage of eggs.
- Provide a 50 cm box for every three geese in your flock.
- If you want to speed up egg production, you can also use artificial light in the nest boxes throughout the day and night.
Step 4. Know which geese to collect eggs from
As a general rule, fertility is 15% higher and hatchability is 20% more likely when eggs are collected from adult females rather than a goose that is only one year old and in its first breeding season.
- Of course, your chances will also improve when you select healthy, well-fed geese eggs.
- Geese that are allowed to swim generally tend to be cleaner, which keeps the eggs cleaner, too.
Step 5. Clean the eggs
Dirty eggs should be lightly cleaned with a brush, a piece of sandpaper or a piece of steel wool. Avoid using water to clean them.
- If you use moisture, wipe the eggs lightly with a clean, damp cloth. The water temperature should be around 40°C as it should be hotter than the egg. Hot water causes the egg's dirt to "sweat" from your pores.
- Never dip the egg in water as bacteria tend to grow if you do.
- Dry eggs completely before putting them away.
Step 6. Smoke the eggs
Fumigation disinfects them. You can technically skip this step, but following it will reduce the likelihood of bacteria growing on the egg through the shell.
- Place eggs in a small room or chamber that can be hermetically sealed.
- Release formaldehyde gas directly into the chamber. You can usually buy it in a 40% water solution known as "formaldehyde" or in a powder form called "paraformaldehyde". Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to release formaldehyde gas. As this gas is toxic, do not breathe it.
- If you cannot use a chemical fumigant, layer the eggs in individual layers and place them in direct sunlight in the morning and afternoon. Solar radiation must act as a disinfectant.
Step 7. Briefly store the eggs
Put them in a Styrofoam box and store them for seven days in a refrigerated area. The temperature must be kept between 13 and 16 ºC, with 70 to 75% relative humidity.
- Never store eggs at temperatures above 24°C or at humidity below 40%.
- Tilt or turn eggs as you store them. The small part should be pointing downwards.
- After 14 days of storage, hatchability decreases dramatically.
Method 2 of 3: Natural Incubation
Step 1. Use Barbary ducks when possible
You can use geese to hatch your own eggs, but this can be expensive and difficult as geese do not lie down when they sit on their eggs. Barbary ducks provide the ideal conditions.
- Turkeys and chickens can also work well.
- Natural incubation is believed to produce the best results overall, but if you can't use natural incubation, artificial means will work too.
- The chickens you use must be broody. In other words, they need to have laid enough eggs that their natural instincts require an incubation period.
Step 2. Place eggs under the bird
For a Barbary duck, place six to eight eggs under it. For chickens, you can only lay about four to six eggs.
If you use a goose to hatch your own eggs, you can put ten to 15 eggs under it
Step 3. Turn the eggs over by hand
If using ducks or chickens, the eggs will be too big for the birds to naturally rotate them. You will need to turn them over by hand daily.
- Wait until the bird leaves the nest to eat and drink.
- After 15 days, sprinkle the eggs with warm water when you turn them over.
Step 4. Light the eggs
After the tenth day, put the eggs under a bright light and look inside. Infertile eggs must be discarded, and the fertile ones returned to the nest.
Step 5. Wait until the eggs hatch
Incubation can take 28 to 35 days, and hatching can take up to three days.
Keep the nest clean throughout this period and continue to turn eggs each day throughout the process
Method 3 of 3: Artificial Incubation
Step 1. Choose your incubator
Generally, you can choose between ventilated incubators and non-ventilated incubators.
- Setters that can be adjusted for slow air movement maintain a more even distribution of air, temperature and humidity throughout the setter, so you'll be able to hatch more eggs with this type of equipment.
- As a general rule, however, non-ventilated incubators are more difficult to manage airflow, so a ventilated one is still the best option.
Step 2. Adjust temperature and humidity
The exact conditions will vary depending on the type of incubator you use.
- Regulate the temperature of a forced-air incubator between 37, 2 and 37.5°C with a relative humidity of 60 to 65%. A wet bulb thermometer should read between 28, 3 and 31, 1 °C.
- For a draft-free incubator, adjust the temperature between 37, 8 and 38, 3 °C at egg height, noting that there may be a total of 3 °C between the top and bottom of the incubator. Humidity should be between 60 and 65% and have a wet bulb reading of 32.2°C during incubation.
Step 3. Space the eggs evenly apart
Place the eggs in your incubator, evenly spaced and in individual layers.
- For best results, place eggs horizontally. Doing so increases the hatch rate.
- Try to keep the machine at least 60% full. If the incubator is emptier than this, adjust the temperature so that it is 0.2°C warmer.
Step 4. Turn eggs four times a day
You must rotate the egg 180º each time.
Turning eggs 90 degrees can decrease the number of eggs that hatch
Step 5. Spray the eggs with warm water
Once a day, you should spray the eggs with some hot water. Goose eggs require a high humidity, and this water can help achieve that ideal humidity.
After 15 days pass, you should submerge the eggs every other day for one minute. Make sure the water has a temperature of 37.5°C
Step 6. Transfer eggs to a hatcher after 27 days
You will need to transfer the eggs from the main body of the setter to a separate hatcher compartment when they are almost ready to hatch. Most eggs hatch between 28 and 35 days.
If past experience indicates that goose eggs hatch in less than 30 days, you should transfer the eggs to the hatcher first. Try to give the eggs at least three days to hatch
Step 7. Keep proper temperature and humidity settings
The temperature in the hatcher must remain at 37°C, with a relative humidity of 80%.
- Once the incubation process visibly starts, reduce the temperature to 36.5°C and the humidity to 70%.
- Before placing the eggs in the hatcher, you must dip them in warm water or sprinkle them. The water should have a temperature of approximately 37.5°C.
Step 8. Let the eggs hatch completely
Eggs usually take up to three days to complete hatching.