Impressive mama goose is in charge of caring for a whopping 47 goslings

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Raising just one child is demanding work. Raising 47 children sounds impossible. But this goose is doing it.

Ever since the coronavirus lockdown came to Canada, Mike Digout has been taking frequent walks along the Saskatchewan River.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

As the days went by, he grew to love seeing the local wildlife grow and change. But one goose really stood out.

He would enjoy seeing the geese mothers look after their goslings. But one day, he spotted a mother goose with more babies than average. Digout was able to count 16 goslings in the mother’s care.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

The next day, Digout went back along the river to see if he could find the mother with her large brood. That was when he got another surprise. This time, the mother goose had a larger brood of babies. Digout managed to count 25 this time round.

And the next day, the goose had 30 babies. And the day after that, she had a whopping 47 goslings in her care.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

So how did the mother goose come to have so many babies? She didn’t produce an abnormally large amount of eggs. Instead, it’s the result of something called a gang brood.

Gang broods take place when geese start to babysit goslings of other parents.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

Digout then tried to see if most of the babies would return to their own mothers at night. Amazingly, 36 of them chose to stay with the same mother goose. She appeared to have adopted these ones until they grew up. Clearly, this means that she’s a great mother!

At first, all 36 of these permanent adoptees would huddle under their mother for warmth at night.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

But the goslings all grew up quickly. So eventually, they all just had to huddle up together. The mother still watched over them.

Eventually, the goslings became more independent. But by mid-June, 25 of the goslings still wanted to stick close by their mother.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

In early July, Digout shared one final update on the goslings. The ones that the mother goose had raised were now hard to distinguish from all of the other ones out there. They had become self-sufficient and almost fully grown.

Before observing this mother and her 47 babies, Mike Digout was never a big fan of geese. But his opinions have completely changed now!

So why do some geese form gang broods? Michael R. Conover, a professor at Utah State University has been studying Canada Geese behavior for over 25 years. He’s discovered some interesting facts.

Gang brooding appears to be a skill that geese learn as they raise more and more babies.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

In fact, “only 29% of geese raising broods for the first time formed a gang brood versus 80% for geese with 5 or more years of experience.”

So basically, gang brooding happens when geese get a bit older and want to share out the parenting duties with others.

Mike Digout/Facebook Source: Mike Digout/Facebook

Did you have any idea that geese adopt babies and form nature’s equivalent of a daycare?! Well, now you know.

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Source: InspireMore, The Dodo, BioOne