We mosquito-proofed our aviary to accommodate more of the yellow-eyed penguins chicks currently in our rehab facility as we worry about Avian Malaria. At least while they are with us they are safe. Unfortunately we have lost two chicks to Malaria shortly after they were admitted. We are treating a couple of others that have tested positive with Malaria medication - fingers crossed it will work and they survive. Recent donors have kindly sponsored some of the boxes we needed to provide the chicks with shade - thank you!
Our yellow-eyed penguin chicks that have been with us since December are looking like real penguins now and it is time for some of them to go to our soft-release pens next weekend. They will be there for one week and getting fed once a day instead of twice a day. Then the door will be opened and they can head away if they want to. If they are still there the next day they will be fed again. As a prerequisite for this they have to eat out of the hand so that we don't have to handle them. Hopefully they will imprint on the colony and return if they are having trouble finding food and return. Daily checks of the beach and surrounding foreshore will hopefully locate them.
This is a photo from a couple of weeks ago when Bequette's chicks Jax and Chris were still with their parents near their sponsored house Wild 3. Bequette is only three years old and has raised one chick last year. She has done well with these two but it was time for her to look after herself. So they are now guests in our establishment with regular meals and pampering like showers on hot days.
We are busy: we have 33 chicks in our rehab facility now and the chicks haven't quite settled into the pens they are meant to be in. We aim for no more than three per pen and that is how it started with the far pen. By the end of the day it was empty and the neighbouring pen had 6 chicks in it. It looks like the escape route is via the roof!!
She is a blessed yellow-eyed penguin chick that has recently been sponsored by a kind person. Thank you!!
She is also one of our 36 chicks (of 53 total hatched at Moeraki) who is now residing in our rehab facility. Like the others she dropped significantly weight suddenly and we had to bring in many of the chicks among them those that are either sponsored themselves, have sponsored parents or have grown up in a sponsored box. Here is a run-down of the fates of all these:
Bequette's chicks growing up in Wild 3 box: Jax (a male) and Chris (a female): both in hospital
Janet: one chick (female) in hospital, the other is monitored in the field.
Thor's chick (female) in hospital
Odd Simen's chicks grown up in Brent SIngclair's box: one female in hospital, the other female monitored in the field.
Chick from Jordana Whyte's box in hospital, the other monitored in the field.
Penguino is a female and in hospital
Chick from Changri-la box in hospital
Chick from the Norwegian Cabin in hospital
Spike from Penny Box 1 is a male and monitored in the field, the sibling is in hospital
Mandy's chicks: one is hospital and one chick (male) is monitored in the field.
Morgan's chicks from the Remembrance box: both in hospital (one male, one female)
Rex is in hospital
Cassello Chilcott is in hospital (female)
Ludwig III is a male and is monitored in the colony.
Pyne is a male in is monitored in the colony
Logan Bear Penguin is in hospital
One of the chicks from Any Cunningham's box is in hospital
One chick from Drobne Kuca's box is in hospital
Both chicks (one female, one male) from Jacob Thompson's box are in hospital because we found their father dead yesterday and giving the mother a break.
Dylan's chicks in Zac McCall's nest box: female chick is monitored in the field, the male chick is in hospital.
Pompey is a girl and doing great.
Vivek's chick has been in hospital a while.
Poppy's chicks: one (female) is in hospital, one chick (male) is monitored in the field.
Ciara's and Stewie Junior's chicks in Uncle Chang's box: one has been in hospital since December, the other is a female and monitored in the colony.
Chicky's chick growing up in Flipper Palace is female and in hospital
Jackson's chick growing up in Anja and Alfreda's box is female and monitored in the field.
I hope I haven't missed anyone...... In many cases we brought in the chicks to relieve the parents, particularly young females. They have done great getting their chicks to where they are at now but it's time for them to look after themselves. The chicks will be with us in hospital until they are over 6kg or so and then released when they are old enough, i.e. 108 days old. Some of the chicks we have had since the food crisis in December are due to be released next weekend: old and fat enough.
Our yellow-eyed penguin chicks are getting their 90 day check-up and that involves weighing as well as measuring. We can guess in many cases whether they are male or female depending on the size of their heads and in Pyne's case, it turned out to be a male: the head is already bigger than most females and he is not fully grown yet.
Unfortunately quite a number of chicks had to come into rehab this week because they had lost a lot of weight (not Pyne, he was fine). We are checking the rest regularly to relieve the parents that are obviously struggling to fatten up the chicks. Why? Don't know. However, some of the mums in particular are quite young and they may not be coping. So it's a good idea to give them a break. They have done great to get their chicks this far. We will be posting an update on all the sponsored chicks and their parents this weekend to let you all lovely sponsors know what's happening with your chicks.