We had some pretty warm days and the larger Yellow-eyed penguin chicks have been away from the parents to be cooler making it so much easier for us to see them.
We did celebrate the other day - but then it was back to work and the last couple of rounds were not so good. More and more chicks are in the clear from the diphtheria disease as they are getting older but we had another 5 chicks that required treatment and one died last night. Another one is touch and go - so if you have a spare prayer to say for it, that would be appreciated.
We also had two more chicks go missing - and oddly enough a chick home alone behind the nest box with no parents in sight. The neighbour had only one chick so we gave them the abandoned chick and they accepted - bless them, they see a fluffy chick and they tuck it under their belly and all is well.
We celebrated yesterday: we had our first round checking on our Yellow-eyed penguin chicks and we had no deaths, none missing and no new cases of diptheria. That called for a blueberry muffin!! (yes, we spoil ourselves!)
It had been a tough 10 days. We check each nest every other day and any chick that looks 'dodgy' is examined closer and since 8 Nov we had new diptheria cases every round; we lost 9 chicks (5 for no apparent reason, 4 were being treated but we think they were only at the initial stages of the disease); and 5 chicks have gone missing. One round there were 2 chicks in the nest, the next round there was only 1 chick - no trace of a body and we are suspecting predators. More traps have gone out and nothing has gone missing since.
All hatching is done, we now have a total of 63 chicks alive of which only 14 are less than 10 days old. A total of 26 chicks had to be treated so far and 22 made it (the other four - see above) We are over the hump and happy. With every passing day the chicks are a day older and stand a slightly better chance of surviving diptheria should they get it.
Have a blueberry muffin everyone - celebrate and rejoice!
We have found diptheria in our Yellow-eyed penguin colony and these are two of our current patients: they are only 8 days out of their eggs and have the early stages of this infection. They are treated daily for 5 days and should make a full recovery.
So far we have successfully treated 13 chicks, one died unfortunately and another 6 chicks are getting daily doses at the moment. Another round of inspection tomorrow. So far so good. One of these two chicks has not lost its appetite as it blessed one of us with a big pooh - it was a privilege to receive it!!
The egg laying of our Yellow-eyed penguins all happened over two and a half weeks, so the hatching is in full swing right now. Here is a picture of our oldest chicks (also featured 5 Nov). It is alive! Yeah! Why is this a special cause for celebration?
It looks like that it might shape up to be a year with lots of Diptheria - an infectious disease that can kill the chicks. We have treated both chicks in this nest since they were just about big enough to be handled and they are now well and growing fabulously. In addition we are right now treating 7 other nests and are checking all chicks for disease every other day after they reach 5 days. If they show the symptoms they get daily dose of meds for 5 days and that should fix the problem.
What is amazing is that the parents seem to get it that we are trying to help and tend to be less aggressive and more compliant than otherwise when the chicks are removed from the nest. Interesting isn't it - and don't let anyone call them bird-brains. They have it where it counts!!
You don't often see this happening through the viewfinder of your camera but I was lucky - and the Yellow-eyed penguin was relieved!! It was a good day's fishing!
This is our oldest Yellow-eyed penguin chick securely tucked in under the parent. It is about a week old and has hatched in box 107 that featured here on 11 August. We are in full swing of hatching and lets hope it all goes well and not many get sick. We know what to do but prefer not having to!
And so the hatching starts: when we go on our rounds to check on our Yellow-eyed penguin breeding pairs, we sometimes get a glimpse of the eggs and sometimes we are lucky and we can see the chick making the first break in the egg shell. Not easy to see so we have circled it in red, but it is unmistakenly a pipping chick. With our high fertility this season we are hoping for a high hatch rate and as always for a high chick survival rate. All fingers and toes crossed.it.