When I first moved to my father’s farm I was constantly bringing small furry or feathered creatures into the house. Much to my husbands dismay, he believes all animals belong outside, and he has allergies in case I want to argue the point!
However he gives in when something is sick or injured. So we have had chicks, ducklings, piglets, and baby goats, (as well as wild snakes, lizards, hares and hummingbirds, none of which rescue very well). The two piglets I kept for 24 hours was the hardest work and the funniest. They drank their milk furiously then collapsed (how cute), EVERY hour (not so cute)! More tiring than when I had my own babies! Chicks and ducklings were usually quite easy, they either warmed up or didn’t. Baby goats were harder, partly because they are so beautiful. The first year they kidded, I didn’t know how to help them, and many die in my hands.
Now I know how to care for the different animals better, and it has been a long time since I have had to bring an animal into the house. That was until last night.
When my husband and I went to close up the sheep, goats and chickens we stopped to check on the new goslings that had been hatching out. We have one gander, (male) and three geese, (female) and between then have hatched out about 18 goslings. While we looked in my husband said, “oh, look a dead one, we better get it out”. It was close to the wall and when I reached in I realised it was still alive, barely. It was so cold and didn’t move. I held it under my sweater as we finished closing the animals.
When we got back to the house, I told the girls it would probably die, but we would do our best. It couldn’t hold its head up or stand, so we fed it some sugar water and snuggled it up with a hot water bottle for the night.
In the morning we were greeted with little whistles and it holding it’s head up. It still is having a little trouble walking, it’s legs tend to splay out. But it is eating and very vocal, especially if it can’t see us. This is something I didn’t know about “waterfowl”, they like to be around people, and to be held, and talked to. And they let you know when they are feeling left out.
My girls are happy, especially my youngest, (who has just started going back to school a couple hours a day). She hasn’t left the gosling’s side. Although, I think she is starting to find it a wee bit demanding, and is telling the gosling she will be with her mother soon. I would like to take it back to be with it’s family, but until it can walk it will have to stay with us. And I am not sure the geese will take her back, or if the gosling will go to them.
So for now my daughters and I are taking turns babysitting a rather loud gosling!