Gorgeous goose: Pictures show incredibly rare three-day-old Shetland gosling born at Almond Valley Heritage Centre in West Lothian
These adorable pictures show an 'incredibly rare' Shetland gosling which was born at a wildlife centre in West Lothian.
The tiny fluffy gosling was born at Almond Valley Heritage Centre, in West Lothian where it is being hand reared by staff.It was photographed just three days old and is considered to be ‘incredibly rare’ by centre bosses.The centre currently has two breeding pairs, with the females normally producing eight to ten eggs.However, this year one of the mums only had two eggs with just one hatching on May 16.
The limited hatching makes the gosling even more valuable to the conservation of the breed, according to centre chiefs.
Shetland geese are currently listed as a ‘priority breed’ by the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST).
The priority breeds represent the birds at most concern, which are both rare and have increased inbreeding.
The bird is being cared for by staff - in the hope its mum will be able to nest again this year and produce more egg - and was put in with some ducklings for company.
33 year-old Craig Holmes, farm manager said: "Shetland geese are incredibly rare.
"We have two breeding pairs, with each female normally have between eight and ten eggs, but this year one of the birds only had two eggs.
"We would normally take the eggs off the female to artificially incubate them as each egg is so valuable for conservation, but as she only had two we left her to sit on them.
"Only one hatched so we put the gosling in with some ducklings which had also just hatched to keep it company.
"We are hopeful the female will nest again this year, which is also why we took the baby away as if mum had reared the gosling, she might not have nested again.
"We are hand rearing it, but it doesn't take much work, goslings are pretty low maintenance.
Mr Holmes added: "It is important for us to boost their numbers as they are so rare - they are on the RBST's priority list, which is the highest bracket."