Jonathan: Another gosling died last night. We started with nine, and now there’s just five. The first three died almost certainly from getting cold and damp: the yellow fluff might seem soft and warm to us, but surprsingly it is no defense against wetness and wind, and that’s why mother goose hides her babies under her wings, the broad and oily feathers acting as an unbrella, and her down as the perfect bed. Geese don’t make nests except to lay and hatch eggs, and the goslings have an aversion to nice little boxes of straw – they’ll just pile up together on the grass next to it. And they need to eat so much grass, it’s difficult to keep them indoors under a lamp eating grain. No good comes from molly-coddling them, they have to take their chances. The odd thing is that we’ve raised several lots this way before, and lost none. Last night another died – perhaps from suffocation at the bottom of the heap of its siblings. I’ve got a soft spot for geese, and I hate to think of them cold and losing heart: after today’s blanket of grey and drizzle, I could see that there was another gosling flagging. So before bedtime, I scooped them up and put them in the shed … on a bed of straw, and put the infra-red lamp back on. Here it is a few weeks back, on its first day out on the grass.