Yet, as the hours passed and the nest grew colder, I couldn’t help wondering what had gone wrong. On a whim, as I went home that night, I collected the egg and brought it home with me. I just needed to know the fate of that unlucky abandoned egg. I carefully punctured a small hole into the air sac end of the egg and peered inside.
A baby gosling! Alive! I could see its tiny bill was penetrated into the air pocket and taking breaths. I quickly placed the egg into my already-heated incubator along with other eggs that were set to hatch the next day. I figured the baby was chilled and needed to be warmed up immediately. I decided to wait and see what happened.
WARNING: Graphic pictures to follow!
work. When I returned home and examined the situation, it was obvious that the baby had spraddled legs (spraddled or splayed legs is like getting stuck doing the splits) and was unable to stand on its own. It still could not lift its head. Otherwise, it was lively and chatting away.
flexible band that stabilized them while still allowing for movement. I hand fed and watered it and placed in back into the brooder with the now hatched out chicks that it had previously been sharing incubator space with. The gosling didn't like its legs bound, but began to scoot around the brooder on it's belly, legs flopping behind. It seemed able to drink and eat on its own, so for now, I let it be.
The next morning brought a huge surprise. The baby had its head up and seemed in control of its body movements. I watched it push up onto its legs and wobble around. It was walking! The hobble was working!! A miracle!
it RAN! It propped its little wings out for balance and ran all over the place! What a sight! Happily
chattering away, baby was on the mend! For the first time since I saw that lonely egg abandoned on the nest, I was able to relax a bit.
After three days, I removed the hobble to see if the leg muscles were strong enough to work on their own. I brought the baby outside and placed it on the grass. It immediately took off and ran around, sampling grass and weeds and chirping its heart out. It found a little puddle and took a couple drinks, then ran around some more. If you could paint a picture and call it “Joy” this would have been it. What a journey!
incorporate it back into the wild with others of its kind.
It is hard to think about saying goodbye. I will be so sad to see it leave! But knowing that one day it might be free to fly the skies and raise its own babies, and that maybe I gave it a chance at life that it wouldn’t have had, eases my mind and heart. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to experience such a beautiful process up close and personal! This baby has earned the right to live a full life and in return I was
given the gift of watching it grow and thrive.
It’s only been one week, but a week I’ll remember always thanks to a feisty baby goose that never gave up even when all hope seemed lost. A lesson for us all,