Long post here about rescuing an ailing gosling! 🙂
Our three goslings have been lots of fun the last few days, and we’ve learned a ton about caring for a new (to us) species. What have we learned?
1. Goslings are much less messy than ducklings!
2. Goslings are more personable, less flighty, and less scared of us than ducklings and chicks.
3. These guys absolutely LOVE their greens and will eat dandelions and grass all day long.
One of our little goslings, unfortunately, sustained an injury last week. It took us a while to figure out what part of him was hurting, but we think it is his neck. A few hours after he was injured, we realized that he was not eating or drinking and was walking with his head very much held back, as if putting his neck forward was painful. When baby critters start to go down, they die VERY quickly without intervention. Since we’re such a small operation, we have the luxury of working to save one languishing gosling, and so we went right to work the minute we knew something was wrong. Not only is “Ryan Gosling” (named by my teenages, of course!) doing much better, but we learned a lot, again, in the process of nursing him back to health.
Our rescue process:
1. We did NOT separate him from his siblings. They were not picking on him, and separation causes so much stress that it usually does more harm than good.
2. The first danger is always dehydration. We tried dipping Ryan’s beak in his water dish, but this seemed painful to him, and he would not drink that way.
3. I used a tiny syringe to place literally one drop of water at a time inside his bill by gently opening his bill with my fingernail.
4. We let him rest in between each short session and came back about every 15 minutes to give him water. 5. After the first few drops of water went down, we added apple cider vinegar, a drop of oregano essential oil, and a tiny bit of liquid Vit. B to the water.
6. After this was being tolerated, we added a small bit of NutriDrench to the mix. All of the above was Day 1, and we watched and cared for him at least every ½ hour, all day long.
7. Day 2, Ryan seemed worse. He was already visibly smaller than his siblings (lack of nutrition). He slept with his head propped in a strange way, and we assumed he would not make it. However, we continued with hydration, NutriDrench, vinegar, and Vit. B in a syringe–just a drop at a time.
8. Day 3, we noticed a tiny bit of improvement. Since he lived through the night, we had hope that things might turn around. By this time, he was literally ½ the size of his siblings. It is AMAZING how fast these guys grow, and how lack of nutrition affects their growth so drastically.
9. We hydrated and fed with the syringe in the morning, and saw that Ryan got up and drank some on his own. He pecked at his food but did not eat.
10. In a blender, we mixed goose grower feed, grass, dandelion leaves, dried oregano spice, vinegar, Vit. B, NutriDrench, and water. It was thin enough to go through the tiny syringe we’d been using.
11. We fed him again, about every hour, with this food blend.
12. The absolute KEY in all of this is TINY amounts of food or liquid, placed right at the tip of the bill, giving time for the animal to swallow without aspirating.
13. By the end of Day 3, Ryan was drinking on his own and trying to eat alone. I realized that his goose grower crumble was too large for him to “chew” at this point, so we blended the grower feed into a fairly fine powder, and he gobbled it up. Yay! Eating on his own was a very good sign.
14. Day 4 (today), Ryan is still not 100% back to normal but is MUCH better. He’s eating grower feed blended into powder, drinking lots of water (we added apple cider vinegar to their fresh
water), and eating grass and leaves which have been chopped up into tiny pieces.
Whew. I think he’ll make it! 🙂