One look at this photo and I am sure your mouth has hit the floor! What you are viewing is the comparison of a goose egg (obviously, the larger one) with a large chicken egg, with my hands in the background to provide some size reference! I know! The first time one of my geese laid an egg, my reaction was, "THAT came out of HER!!!!!!" I couldn't believe it! Ouch!
Those of you who have read my earlier posts will already be familiar with my two female domestic geese named Sydney and Phoenix. If this is your first view of my blog, of course, I would love it if you would back up a few posts and read about them. But, if you don't have a chance to right now, just read along and I will catch you up!
Syd, the Chinese goose, started laying first, in November. At that point, I didn't know if the geese were male or female. When she became fixated about lying under my central air unit's stand I suspected she was nesting. Sure enough, her first time out, she presented me with two beautiful eggs (yes, she laid two at once) and, obviously, I knew she was a girl. Geese typically will lay every other day, and she settled into this pattern right away. It was short-lived, however. After Sydney laid her fourth egg, somehow -- like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack -- she found a nail in my yard and swallowed it! At first, I didn't know that's what happened. I just knew that something was wrong because she wasn't herself; she literally didn't want to move. Talk about guilt, thinking I had my yard so well goose-proofed! It actually was a very old nail and had been there, hiding in the grass, for quite some time.
To make a long story short, I credit a wonderful vet -- Dr. Herbert Hulls of Pet Care Veterinary Hospital, in Virginia Beach, Virginia -- with saving her life. An x-ray showed that the nail had literally impaled her gizzard. This was actually a stroke of luck because the gizzard is such a solid organ and is the size of a fist in a goose. It could have ripped so many things on the way down, but miraculously, it didn't! Listen to this: as Dr. Hulls was discussing options with me, Syd walked over to where I was sitting AND PUT HER HEAD IN MY LAP!!!! It was as if she was saying to me, "Please, please give me a chance!" Of course, I did! Who says that animals are stupid -- not me!
A five-inch incision later, Syd survived the surgery. I have the nail in a jar for posterity! Since her feathers needed to be shaved away, she had to board at the vet's for two months because it was now cold. If you have ever seen a raw duck breast, that is what the area looked like! Even though I live in the South, our winters can still be quite chilly. She wouldn't have been able to regulate her body temperature once her "down coat" was stripped away.
Her antics at the vet's are very humorous and will undoubtedly be the subject of another post! (A preview: she actually was bold enough to chase and "goose" a Rhodesian Ridgeback! You know, those dogs who hunt lions! It ran from her!).
Sydney resumed laying a few weeks later while still hospitalized. Back to Phoenix, the African goose: I always thought she was a girl, but when she didn't lay right away, I began to think I was mistaken. Not to worry: when I noticed that her hind end looked fuller, something I noticed right before Sydney started laying, I began to reconsider. Sure enough, in late December, she laid her first eggs -- two at first, just like Syd.
Since that time, Phoenix has been Ms. Consistent and has laid an egg every other day. Syd has been a bit more sporadic in her laying habits, which I suspect has something to do with all she has been through.
Now, about the eggs! They are just gorgeous! In another post, I will crack an egg open and show you their "inner" beauty (I am still unsure how to post more than one photo on my blog template). Unfortunately, while I am not allergic to eggs, I am a bit sensitive to them, digestively. I love omelets, but when made with goose eggs...well, let's just say they didn't agree with me. They are just so incredibly rich! However, if I regularly add them into my cooking or baking, happily, I am fine. My neighbor Lu and her boyfriend Art are addicted to them and I have enjoyed sharing my surplus with them. A breakfast of steak and goose eggs is their hands-down favorite! My dogs and cats also love them. The shells are composted for use in my garden.
So, tell me what you think! What was your reaction when you saw that goose egg??? Oh, and by the way, now you know why I refer to Sydney as "The World's Most Expensive Goose"!