Geese are rather difficult to incubate and hatch compared to chickens and ducks. Ideally the incubating is left to a hen, duck, goose, or other broody bird, but luck doesn’t always provide a broody when you need one. Goslings make up for their difficult hatching by being incredibly easy to raise.
Egg Collection and Storage
Goose eggs should be collected daily for incubating in an incubator. Use a pencil to label the eggs with the date and mark one side with an X and the other with an O. You can collect eggs and store them at room temperature for up to 10 days. If you need to collect eggs for a longer period of time the eggs are best stored in a fridge until you need to hatch them. You will have poorer hatching from refrigerated eggs, but better than if they were stored at room temperature for a longer period of time.
Eggs should be turned a minimum of 3 times daily before you set them. Simply turn the eggs so either the X or O is showing, whichever was previously facing down. Goose eggs should be stored laying flat and not upright in a carton.
Goose eggs need to be incubated at 99.5F for the duration of incubating. After lock down you should lower the temp to 98-99F to increase the oxygen levels for the goslings. Once they have internally pipped they will start using their lungs to breath air.
The humidity levels you need will vary greatly depending on your local and household climate. It’s best to track air cell size by tracing the outline of the air cell at your weekly candling OR you can weigh the egg to make sure it is losing weight properly. You’ll be looking for an overall weight loss of 16%.
For my own hatching I need to run the incubator around 20-30% humidity for the first 25 days and then increase to about 60% for lock down.
Cooling and Misting
Starting at day 8, waterfowl eggs benefit from a daily cooling and misting. Take the eggs out of the incubator, mist lightly with cool water, and then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Place back in the warm incubator after the 10 minutes has elapsed. On days 15 – 21, eggs should be cooled for 15 minutes. From day 22 and on the eggs should be cooled for 20 minutes.
The cooling and misting process mimics when the mother goose gets off the nest and returns wet from a swim.
Geese need to incubate for 28 to 32 days. Eggs go into lock down on day 25 and you should expect most or all to hatch by day 28. Sometimes some goslings take a few extra days to hatch.