Ducklings and goslings hatch in Anza

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This tiny duckling rests in the brooder after working hard to hatch from its egg. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

Late spring is waterfowl hatching time, and this season promises a huge crop of ducklings and goslings, both wild and domestic.

Geese can begin nesting in late February, but the most fertile eggs usually occur late March into April. Goose eggs take 34 days to hatch, lovingly kept warm by devoted mothers and guarded by vicious fathers. Goslings are self-sufficient as soon as they manage to exit the eggs, though typically ferociously tended to by the adults in the group. Being small, they can be prey for hawks, owls, bobcats, skunks, coyotes and foxes.

Peeping and chirping, they happily feed along with the grown birds, who guide them to the choicest morsels of grass, grain and tender plants.

A fluffy duckling warms up in the brooder. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo
Young ducklings play in their pool. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

Ducklings, like most waterfowl, imprint on their parent figures and follow along faithfully as the adults swim and search for food. Duck eggs usually take 28 days to hatch, as compared to a chicken egg at 21 days. As with geese, the mothers are quite devoted and aggressive to perceived threats.

Artificially incubated waterfowl eggs can be a joy to the poultry enthusiast, as watching the little birds grow can be quite rewarding. Young ducks and geese are plump, fluffy, soft and frankly, adorable.

Anza has a lot to look forward to with the new babies coming forth.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.

Mama goose takes a break to forage for food while the rest of the flock watch the little ones. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
A wild Canada goose oversees the goslings as they feed in the grass. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Adult domestic geese survey for danger as they project the goslings. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo