Do Geese Abandon Their Eggs? Insights into Nesting Behaviors



Do Geese Abandon Their Eggs?

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Mother geese are very protective of their eggs and it is rare for them to abandon them. In fact, most of the time mother geese will sit on their eggs until they hatch.

If the mother goose does leave her eggs, it is usually because she is afraid for her own safety or the safety of her young. But that’s not only the reason why geese abandon their eggs.

Why Geese Might Abandon Their Eggs?

There are several reasons why geese might abandon or leave goose eggs unattended. Here are some of them:

Searching for Food and Water

Like other brooders such as chickens and ducks, Canada Geese abandon their eggs in their nest to feed or eat but come back afterward.

It is natural for geese to leave their nests unattended while they are feeding or looking for water, but they always return. They may do this multiple times through the incubation period.

If they leave the nest, it exposes the eggs to the environment’s temperature in the nest.

Female geese need food and water while incubating to keep them healthy. The food provides these birds with the nutrients they need to stay strong, while the water helps keep them hydrated.

Incubation is a very demanding process, and it’s important that the geese have enough energy and fluids to sustain them. If they don’t get enough of either, it can put their health at risk.

Bad Eggs

Geese can also abandon their eggs and leave the nest if they realize that most of them are bad. Most poultry does the same.

This happens when one or more eggs in the nest do not develop properly, causing them to become deformed or unusually small.

If this happens, the mother goose may decide that it is better to leave these bad eggs alone rather than raise them to produce healthy offspring.

If the geese abandon their eggs, it is important to inspect all of them to save good eggs and transfer the ones that are about to hatch.

If the eggs are warm, they should immediately be placed in an incubator. If the eggs are cold, they can be placed in a warm environment to raise the egg temperature slowly.

If you are unsure if the goose egg is still good, it can be candled to check for fertility.

Geese can lay unfertilized eggs that will not hatch so the geese might abandon them especially if they have an experience looking after hatched goslings in the past.

Trained to Abandon Their Eggs

Many domesticated geese are raised on the farm specifically for their eggs. Once the goose lays her eggs, she is usually trained to abandon them.

The farmer will then collect the eggs laid for consumption or incubation.

There are several reasons why farmers train their geese to leave their eggs.

It is easier to collect the eggs if the goose is not sitting on them.

If the goose is sitting on the eggs, the farmer must chase her off them whenever they want to collect them. This can be time-consuming and difficult, especially if there are a lot of eggs.

It is also better for the eggs if the goose does not sit on them all the time.

If a goose sits on her eggs all the time, she can inadvertently crush them. This is especially likely to happen if the goose is not used to sitting on eggs or if she is uncomfortable with the eggs for some reason.

The farmer may not want the goose to become attached to the eggs. If the goose becomes attached to the eggs, she may become upset when they are taken away from her. This could lead to the goose becoming aggressive or even harming herself.

If you recently brought a broody goose into your own farm and you noticed her abandon her eggs, follow up with the previous owner.

A goose that is trained to lay eggs and abandon them will most likely not hatch any eggs in the future.


One possible explanation for why geese abandon their eggs is when they feel disturbed or unsafe.

When nesting, geese are particularly vulnerable to predators, and they want to minimize the risk of being killed. If the geese feel that their nesting area is not safe, they may leave to find a more secure location.

If you’re raising geese in your backyard, keep dogs and other animals away from their nesting area, especially if your geese have started laying eggs.

Geese will often attack if they feel their nest is threatened. However, they may also abandon their nests and the eggs if they feel threatened.

Other geese may also cause a disturbance. When two geese go broody in the same area, it can result in one of them abandoning their eggs. Both geese may even sit on the same nest, swap nests or steal each other’s eggs.

If one of the geese is constantly disturbed by the other, they may eventually give up on their eggs. This can be because they are not getting enough rest or are being harassed by the other goose.

To prevent this from happening, it is important to separate the two geese if they are both broody. This will give each goose the chance to incubate its eggs in peace and increase its chances of successfully hatching its chicks.

After Hatching Their First Goslings

After hatching their first goslings, many geese leave or abandon unhatched eggs behind.

The main reason why they leave their eggs in the nest this way is that the parents would not be able to adequately take care of the new goslings and the unhatched eggs.

Another possible reason why a goose abandons the nest with her eggs in it is if senses something is wrong with them, such as a lack of oxygen or if they are cracked.

If a goose is incubating more than her share of eggs in the nest, she may also abandon some of them to increase her chances of successfully hatching the others.

If your domesticated geese abandon their unhatched eggs after goslings have hatched, check on the remaining eggs and take the good ones into an incubator to continue incubating.

What to Do if You See Abandoned Canada Geese Eggs?

If you find an abandoned Canada goose egg, it is best to leave it alone. It is possible that the mother goose left the nest with the hatched goslings and will come back to take care of the remaining eggs.

If you touch or move the egg, the goose may not be able to see it, and the egg could die.

Contact your local wildlife services if you’re concerned that the egg may not be in a safe location. Removing and relocating Canada goose eggs is against the law.

Final Thoughts on Do Broody Geese Abandon Their Eggs

Do geese abandon their eggs? The answer is yes, but leaving them is not as simple. Several factors can lead to a goose abandoning her eggs, including fear, danger, and lack of food.

However, the most common reason for abandonment is when the goose feels she can’t protect her eggs anymore.

If you’re lucky enough to see a gosling hatch, watch how the mother interacts with her young. She’ll be very protective and ensure they’re safe before leaving them alone.

FAQs on Geese and Other Poultry Birds

How Many Eggs Do Canada Geese Lay in One Clutch?

So how many eggs does a goose lay before she becomes broody? Canada geese lay two to nine goose eggs in a clutch.

Once the goose has laid a sizeable clutch in the nest, the goose starts to sit and incubate all her eggs until they hatch.

How Long Will a Goose Sit On Her Eggs?

Geese eggs are incubated for about 28 to 35 days, after the incubation period the goose eggs hatch into goslings. Goslings can walk, swim and feed within 24 hours of hatching.

Both parents will supervise and defend the goslings until they can fly on their own, which usually happens at about ten weeks. The young geese remain with their family group for about one year.

How Does Candling an Egg Work?

Candling is the process of using a bright light to look inside an egg. This method is done by shining the light through the eggshell and into the egg. They are candled to help identify bad eggs from the good ones.

When candling an egg, you’re looking for two things: movement and blood vessels. Viable eggs have well-defined blood vessels and will move as a reaction to the candlelight. It is not viable if an egg has no movement and no blood vessels.

However, if a bad egg is somehow fertilized, disruptive blood vessels will be visible upon candling. Additionally, the embryo will also be unresponsive to candlelight.

Make sure to check every egg so you don’t miss a fertile egg. Note that not all fertile eggs will hatch. It is also important to separate rotten eggs from the good ones because if they break open they can contaminate the other eggs.

When Do Geese Lay Eggs?

Females choose the nesting sites. The nests are usually built on the ground, about a half-mile away from the nearest body of water.

For the most part, geese will only lay eggs in their nests from the end of February until the end of May which is usually right after their breeding season, with most of the eggs hatching from early to late May.

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