La Feria News

Embden Geese II

Grace Heritage Ranch

Now that the little Embden goslings have hatched, it’s time for them to move on to bigger and better spaces. After drying off in the incubator, the goslings move into the living room and are placed in a square wire cage. We put a heating lamp over them since the weather is still cold, and they are only covered in fluffy down feathers. The goslings stay inside the cage until the weather is warm enough for them to go outside during the day.

Goslings are fairly large when they hatch and will grow quickly – nearly doubling in size after one week. They spend their day making loud “peep peep peep peep” sounds and waiting for someone to come take them to the bathtub. The bathtub is a magical place for little goslings. Here they can swim and dive and attack washcloths to their heart’s content. If no bathtub is available, the goslings will make use of their water dish by sticking their heads under the water as far as they can and then flip around splashing everywhere. You may wonder how the goslings can swim if they only have down feathers. Being waterfowl, geese have a special gland at the base of their tails which produces oil. This oil is then rubbed all over their feathers when they preen, essentially making them waterproof.


Goslings are precocial, meaning that they are pretty much developed and able to care for themselves when they hatch. They have feathers and can eat and drink right away as opposed to songbirds, which hatch blind and featherless and need the parents to care for them.

Precocial birds will imprint on and follow the first thing they see moving after they hatch. This becomes “mom”, be it human or animal, and is then tasked with the responsibility of keeping the babies safe, whether they wanted to or not.

To learn even more and get hands-on experience, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at or For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

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