“What a shame,” I shook my head as I cleaned out the nest and tossed the crushed eggs into a trashcan. I picked up an egg and examined it. “I think there must be a baby inside, but the shell is cracked.
The vet student said I should incubate it. I didn’t have any idea what to do. She helped me rig an incubator out of a spare lizard tank with a heat lamp attached. She told me that several times a day I must mist the egg with water and turn it.
I diligently set the kitchen timer and turned that egg four times a day, as instructed. Three days later, the gosling hatched! We were enchanted. This tiny creature was a downy grey fluff-ball the size of my fist.
She didn’t resemble her parents at all. Not long-necked and regal, she was all out of proportion with stubby wings and feet so big they got in the way. She would spat-spat along the porch with those big feet and sometimes step on them and trip herself.
Birds, especially geese, will imprint on the first moving thing they see. It becomes their parent, their food source, and their protection. God gives them this powerful instinct to make sure they will stay with their parents. Their very life depends on staying close to Mamma and Pappa.
We named her
Like all babies,
At first we tried to put her into her little make-shift incubator at night. But she would carry on and fuss so, I finally relented and let her sleep in the bed with us. We made a sort of a nest with a bath towel. She would snuggle down and I would hold my hand over her. She made little peeping noises and murmured her way to sleep.
A few days after she hatched, Joe had to spend some time in the hospital. He chaffed at having to stay bedridden and gave the nurses a hard time.
The second day I came to the hospital with a basket over my arm. It was covered with a small towel. Our pastor was just leaving Joe’s room. He saw my basket and quipped, “Linda, surely you don’t have some animal in there!”
I just grinned and lifted the corner of the towel. There sat
Both Joe and the nursing staff were delighted with the contraband goose. Before I went home, she had been visited by dozens of people and I had been invited to take her to several sick children’s room. She brightened everyone’s day just as she always brightened ours.