Kakapo chicks are set to benefit from the gifting of seven baby incubators by two New Zealand hospitals.

The incubators, which formerly kept babies alive, will now be used to ensure the survival of another species, used in the hand-raising of endangered kakapo chicks.

Six incubators from Auckland's Starship Hospital and one from Dunedin Hospital were gifted to the Department of Conservation after they had been replaced by new machines at the hospitals.

The incubators would more than double the incubation capacity for the kakapo recovery scheme, programme spokesperson Deidre Vercoe said.

"Although the programme's five existing incubators have done a good job up until now, they are old and fairly basic," she said.

Incubators are used in cases when a chick's mother is unable to rear it because of lack of food or other reasons, Ms Vercoe said.

During last year's breeding season 26 chicks were hand-raised, the largest number since the programme began in 1987.

- NZPA