Watching geese at your local pond is a great way to connect with nature. Yet wild geese are extremely secretive when it comes to egg-laying, which makes it harder for you to know about their habits. So you may be wondering when do geese start laying eggs?
Female geese start to lay eggs once they reach maturity at around 2 years old. Some geese can start to lay as early as 9 months old. Geese will typically lay their eggs from February to May. Most goose eggs are laid early in the morning, close to sunrise. They will lay every other day until they have a clutch size of around 2-10 eggs.
Goose egg-laying habits are extremely interesting, so if you want to learn more then keep reading. This guide will take you through any questions you have.
Let’s jump in.
When do geese start laying eggs?
This question can be answered in many different ways. Do you want to know the age of the goose, season, or even time of the day? We’ve briefly answered that for you above, but let’s look in closer detail.
What age do geese start laying eggs?
Female geese need to be sexually mature before they can start to lay eggs. This age is completely dependent on the goose species.
Some species will start to lay eggs as early as 9 months old. Other species’ won’t start laying eggs until they are around 4 years old. Smaller geese species tend to lay eggs a lot sooner than larger breeds.
The average age for a goose to start laying eggs is 2 years old.
If a goose starts to lay eggs too young it will affect her ability to lay eggs over the following years. This is quite important as geese will only have around 4-5 highly fertile seasons in their lifetime.
The time of year a goose is born will affect its age during the breeding season. A female goose that has hatched early will reach maturity in late winter into early spring. This is the natural mating season for geese.
A female goose that is born later in the year will miss this first mating season. They will then need to wait until the following year to lay eggs. This is why there’s such a variety between the ages that geese lay their first eggs.
What time of year do geese start laying eggs?
Geese are seasonal breeders. Late winter into early summer is the time when they will lay their eggs.
Geese don’t need as much sunlight as other waterfowl such as ducks to lay their eggs. They can start to lay eggs without only around 10 hours of sunlight per day. This is why geese are able to lay their eggs as early as mid-February, which is still the winter season.
The benefit of laying eggs earlier in the year means that the young geese have a better chance of survival. Particularly through their first winter or migration. Being even a few months older makes the goslings less vulnerable during this harsh season.
Geese will lay their eggs right through to summertime, usually mid-May at the latest. Stopping after this gives the goslings time to learn to fly before the flock migrates in September or October.
What time of day do geese lay eggs?
Geese typically lay their eggs in the morning. Yet, they can lay around 30% of their eggs at various times throughout the day.
Depending on the species geese typically lay eggs around 36-55 hours apart. This means that they are much less predictable at timing when an egg will be laid. Spacing on eggs being laid can be anything from 1.5-2 days.
This all adds to the secrecy that geese use when laying their eggs. The unpredictable nature gives the geese an advantage point against predators who can’t predict when there is a new egg in the clutch.
Hormones are the main trigger when geese lay their eggs. These dictate the timing between each egg being laid.
The timing of the last egg will impact the laying time of the next egg. This is why geese will only lay an egg every other day, without a set laying routine.
How many eggs do geese lay?
Geese typically lay around 2-10 eggs per clutch. They will lay these eggs every other day depending on the time the last egg was laid. That means Geese don’t lay an egg every day.
Wild geese will only lay one clutch of eggs a year. Once those eggs have been laid, the geese will not go on to have another clutch.
Wild geese typically live for 10-15 years. Although the female will only reproduce for around 4-5 of those years. They will continue to produce a small number of eggs after this time, but they are likely to remain unfertilized.
Do geese lay eggs without a male?
Female geese don’t need a male goose (gander) to lay eggs. Even if there is no male around a female will lay their eggs as normal.
The difference is that without mating with a gander the eggs will remain unfertilized. This means the eggs won’t develop into a gosling. These remain as only a yolk and egg white just like you buy in a grocery store.
Female geese will still incubate an unfertilized egg. They will stay on these eggs for around a month. A goose clutch can usually be a mixture of fertilized and unfertilized eggs. If an egg doesn’t hatch they will eventually abandon them.
The unfertilized eggs can often become a food source for other wild animals such as raccoons, minks, and snakes.
What are signs a goose is ready to lay eggs?
Although geese are very secretive about their egg-laying, they do show a few signs that they will soon start to lay.
First of all, the females will start to scope out secretive places to build their nests. They want to find a place that is close to the water but also well hidden. Often they like a slightly raised area that is well covered by tall vegetation.
Next, the goose will start to collect a lot of various materials they come across that can be used to build their nests. They’ll use grasses, moss, dead plants, and feathers. The male geese may also help them with this.
You may even notice the female is starting to lose some of their feathers. This is because the females will pull out their own feathers to line their nests.
When do geese stop laying eggs?
Female geese will continue to lay eggs for around 10-15 years. Rarely, some may lay them for even longer than this.
Although geese can lay eggs for this long, they are usually not of good quality. They won’t be fertile enough to produce goslings much past their first 5 breeding seasons.
Older geese will lay a lot fewer eggs than younger, fertile geese. They will normally lay 2-5 eggs through the season. The older they get the less they lay.
Fertile geese in the wild will stop laying eggs once they have a full clutch during the nesting season. They won’t produce eggs again until the breeding season the next year.
Both wild and domestic geese are seasonal and will stop laying eggs at the same time of year.
Wild geese are ready to start laying eggs at around 2 years old. Yet some may start as early as 9 months if they were born early enough.
Geese are very seasonal layers and have a short period of egg-laying between February and May. If the geese aren’t mature during this time they won’t lay any eggs. If she is mature she will lay up to 10 eggs and then stop to brood.
Geese only lay one clutch per season and once those goslings have hatched, they won’t lay any more eggs until the following year.
Female geese will produce eggs most of their life. Yet, once they are past their fourth or fifth breeding season their fertility drastically declines. Geese are much less likely to raise goslings after this time.