GOOD news. The tiny peeping noise from inside my incubator lets me know that all is well, so far, with how the goslings inside the eggs are progressing with the hatching progress.

The goose eggs had been in the incubator for 30 days. For 25 of these we were frantically hoping that at least one of our hens would go broody so that we could put some of the five eggs under her. Every night, every nest box was empty. Not of eggs. Plenty of those. But of a plump maternal hen, chest plucked bare so that she could keep the eggs warmer, manner aggressive when you tried to disturb her... not a sign. All of the hens perched mockingly on their perches come night fall.

But five days ago a hen sat tight in a nest box come nightfall, and pecked me savagely when I fumbled around under her to see if she was sat on any eggs. I left her in the box and she was still in there the next night. Hopefully, I transferred her into a tea chest with a small run attached. And she was still sat tight the next night.

So three nights ago I slipped three goose eggs under her and she settled onto them immediately. Leaving the other two eggs in the incubator was more a matter of spreading the risk than thinking she couldn’t sit five. Risking maternal fury I have checked on the three eggs under her tonight, and they are all chipped, so fingers crossed, we hopefully may have five goslings tomorrow morning.

And then success. Five gosling chicks are now tucked under a rather surprised hen who was doubtless anticipating a peaceful incubation period. Instead, she has been thrust rapidly into maternal overdrive with five goslings.

Next step is to find a surrogate mum for the six duck eggs in my other incubator. And surprise surprise, on a walk this morning with the dogs along our village lane, I suddenly spotted a movement in the top of the hedge.

Amazingly, I had never noticed that a wild goose was nesting there. What I saw was an inquisitive gosling, poking its head above the parapet as it were. Mum, meanwhile, was keeping a low profile as less than a 100 yards away is the pylon on top of which our two returning peregrine falcons are nesting. From what I have read peregrine falcons typically strike and capture their prey in mid-air. So my best advice to Mrs Goose and her goslings is to keep a very low profile.