A WILD goose that was rescued as a chick has learned to keep fit – by chasing its owner’s quad bike.
The greylag, called Goosie, flies after Amy Macpherson at speeds of up to 40mph on the farm she runs with her husband in the Scottish Highlands.
Greylag geese migrate around 4,000 miles a year from northern Europe to Spain .
But Goosie is now tame and regards Amy, 46, as his mother, meaning he’s happy to hang around the farm at Whitebridge, 26 miles south-west of Inverness.
The regular quad bike-chasing sessions keep 10-month-old Goosie in peak condition.
Goosie and a sibling were rescued when they were just a few days old after apparently being abandoned by their mother.
Tragically, the other gosling died after flying into a power line in September last year.
That left Goosie with no-one to fly with and he became miserable and overweight.
Amy’s husband, Stewart, 44, said: “I was away tending sheep and two workmen came up to me and said they had found what they thought was two ducks.
“They thought they had been abandoned by their mother, apparently they came up to the men on a couple of days.
“I was just passing and said, ‘I’ll take them’. We fed them on breadcrumbs and we used to catch flies for them with the fly zapper.”
Stewart said that after Goosie’s sibling died “he just stood round the doorstep looking sorry for himself and eating”.
Stewart hit on the quad bike solution by accident.
He said: “I used to take the kids on the back of the quad, and when we shouted him he just started following us.
“It was better than him just sat about getting fat and depressed.”
Amy, said: “It is exhilarating when he flies beside you. We go at 30,40 miles per hour and he’s way ahead, he’s way faster than the quad.”
Goosie flies several times a day, covering many miles as Amy tends sheep and cattle.
Although Goosie is now happy and fit, there remains a slight chance he will answer the call of the wild this autumn.
Stewart said: “We don’t know what will happen when he sees the wild geese migrating later in the year. That’s the killer question – we don’t know if he’ll join them.”
The family, which includes Angus, 17, Iona, 16, and Davie, 12, also have a pet sheep called Michael. He is currently banned from the family home after continually breaking in and lying on the couch.
In the 1996 movie Fly Away Home, a tame goose that has imprinted on a 13 year old girl is taught to fly using an ultralight aircraft.