Cute kiwi chick saved with ingenuity and masking tape

By Susan Strongman

Kiwi ingenuity - and a bit of masking tape - has saved a kiwi chick, after its egg was badly damaged, endangering its life.

The egg, with a large hole in its shell, was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a Department of Conservation worker.

Against all odds, it successfully hatched late last week, revealing a fluffy kiwi chick that has been named Fissure.

This egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker. It had a large hole, which was patched using the shell of another chick's egg, and masking tape.
This egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker. It had a large hole, which was patched using the shell of another chick's egg, and masking tape.

Rainbow Springs' kiwi husbandry manager Claire Travers said the shell was broken through to the egg's internal membrane, splitting it so the membrane had collapsed on top of the chick, which was very dangerous.

After cleaning up the egg and removing the broken shell pieces, Travers carefully placed the shell of another egg over the hole using masking tape to hold it in place.

"The shell is a vital structure as it maintains the correct moisture of the membrane, absorbing oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide.

"Without it, the egg is in danger of losing too much moisture," Travers said.

The egg was patched using the shell of another chick's egg, and masking tape.
The egg was patched using the shell of another chick's egg, and masking tape.

"To be honest I didn't think the chick had any chance of surviving because the hole in the shell was so big.

"I was absolutely over the moon when it hatched. It really gave me a thrill that against all odds we had saved one of our iconic kiwi chicks.

"Saving the chick is a credit to the Kiwi Encounter team who pooled their expertise and experience to come up with a solution to help save it.

"The hatch itself was amazing with the part of the shell that was taped on to the egg actually mimicking the original shell and cracking in unison as if it was part of the existing egg," Travers said.

Fissure the kiwi hatched from a broken egg which was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DoC worker. It had a large hole in its shell which was patched using the shell of another egg and masking tape.
Fissure the kiwi hatched from a broken egg which was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DoC worker. It had a large hole in its shell which was patched using the shell of another egg and masking tape.

The 2016/17 hatch season is well under way and 41 chicks have hatched at Kiwi Encounter with a further 20 in incubation.

This chick is from Paraninihi - a Maori trust block in north Taranaki near the coast.

Rainbow Springs' involvement in kiwi conservation began in 1995 with the arrival of its first egg, and the hatchery has grown over the years to become the largest kiwi hatching facility in New Zealand, incubating and hatching brown kiwi eggs from around the North Island.

Most kiwi chicks don't survive in the wild due to predators such as stoats, so DoC staff and independent kiwi organisations lift the partially incubated eggs from their burrows and deliver them to Kiwi Encounter to incubate and hatch.

Kiwi eggs take approximately 78 days to incubate, and slightly longer in the wild.

After hatching, the chicks are raised to a 'stoat-proof' weight of 1kg before being released back into the wild.

Kiwi Encounter is also involved in kiwi research.

The team are currently looking at making improvements to the artificial kiwi diet, lighting in nocturnal enclosures, the role of bacteria in egg shell contamination and coccidia (gut parasites) treatment trials.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 07 Dec 2016 07:51:02 Processing Time: 1140ms