It's almost December and we are now getting to our favourite time of year with cuteness overload as the chicks are growing so fast. These two chicks are doing very well under the watchful eye of dad on this occasion while mum is out fishing.
If you are wondering about the little bag hanging over them there, this contains citrus-based smell salts that we are hung up to deter the mosquitos as we had avian malaria kill adults and chicks last year. It's been a cold and wet November which hopefully made mosquitos less likely to breed in big numbers. We also treat all standing water with stuff that ought to kill the eggs and larvae.
This sponsored yellow-eyed penguin lady is always one of the last to lay her eggs so she has the youngest chicks in the colony (except for Vivek) and though they had to be treated for Diphtheria they are now doing well and growing. We are now not expecting any more new cases but had to treat about 80% of our chicks over the last month and now we have 54 chicks left alive of the 68 that hatched. We never not loose any chicks and the 54 chicks represent a big effort and we are pleased with the outcome.
Unfortunately we have to report that the wee yellow-eyed penguin chick that was being raised in Penny Box 3 has died. This is the last photo when it was smaller. It had Diphtheria but we had treated it successfully and it was a little small for its size but otherwise fine. And then it was dead. Mum is only two and dad only three years old and neither have bred before. They have had a practice run this year - but for now they get the summer off. Hopefully this year's experience will serve them next year and they will raise a chick or two then.
Not every yellow-eyed penguin gets to dote on chicks. This is Mr Emma (who is named so because his chick was called Emma by kind sponsors a couple of years ago). The Hotel was used by a different pair last year who raised 2 chicks but moved one house along. Mr Emma himself raised a couple of very fat chicks somewhere else - he is a great dad - but Mrs Emma did not return this spring. So here we have given him an egg to keep warm so he won't take over the neighbour's chick and he seems quite mellow - he wasn't always so - and content to guard his house and egg.
The old boy moves around a bit and has chosen Brent's sponsored box this year. They have a couple of chicks and doing well so far. Odd Simen was really unlucky last year: his chick died of Malaria close to fledging. It was quite heart-breaking. However, he has the next two well on the way - fingers crossed - they fledge successfully this time.
They were one of the first ones to hatch and got Diphtheria quite badly but survived, probably because they were a bit older. The chicks build up their immune system and have a much higher chance of survival if they are a little bit older. Aged 3 weeks and they are safe even if they get it bad.
November is such a difficult month for us with the yellow-eyed penguin chicks getting sick. We had a total of 67 chicks hatched (one to go...) and lost 8 so far. We had to treat 72% (48 chicks) for Diphtheria so far and it ain't over yet. Hopefully it will be in a week's time. Realising that our sponsors want to know what's happening with their box families, parents and chicks, here is a run-down to all the current sponsorships:
Bequette (photo) and 2 chicks Jax and Chris: fine, not treated.
Janet: 2 chicks (treated - and so far alive but very young still)
Thor: 1 chick - treated and survived
Odd Simen in Brent Sinclair's box: 2 chicks, fine, not treated
Jordana Whyte's box: 2 chicks - treated - so far alive
Penny Box 1: 2 chicks, fine
Mandy: 2 chicks, fine
Clayden and Alicia How: 1 egg - did not hatch, the pair is having the summer off
Morgan in the Remembrance box: 2 chicks, treated and survived
Penny Box 3: 1 chick - treated - so far alive
Stitches: both chicks dead - she will be taking the summer off.
Jacob Thompson box: 2 chicks - treated and survived
Dylan: 2 chicks - treated and survived
Vivek: 1 egg was pipping yesterday, the other one hopefully will hatch as well. The eggs were laid late and hatching is even later - they are the last ones.
Poppy: 2 chicks - treated and survived
Stewie Junior and Ciara in Uncle Chang's box: treated and survived
Mrs 31: 2 chicks - fine
Chicky: 1 chick - treated and survived
Jackson in Anja & Alfred's box: 1 chick - treated and survived
We will be posting photos presently. So far the chicks have been very small and hard to capture on camera as they usually have their head under the parent's bum and all you see are a couple of fluffy bottoms. Soon there will be cuteness overload!
Our yellow-eyed penguin chicks are growing every day and Morgan's two chicks are too. They had to be treated but so far so good. Seven chicks in total have died now and two pairs are have lost both chicks and are taking the summer off. It is sad and although we hope that all chicks make it, realistically they never all do. The chicks are not out of the woods yet, but give it another week or so and most will be.
We are almost at the end of hatching - a single egg still to go but unlikely to hatch now unfortunately and Vivek's eggs were the last ones to be laid and ought to be hatching presently. So the tally stands at 66 chicks hatched but 5 have died so far (no sponsored ones but one of Stitches' chicks, the other is being treated). We are currently treating 15 chicks and they are progressing well. Among them are Poppy's chicks - here in the photo. Their symptoms were not severe and they are almost done with their course of antibiotics. What was striking about these two are the size difference: it's always a sign that something is amiss. The difference was not huge but there ought not be any at all.
Almost all our chicks have now hatched and the oldest ones are almost 2 weeks old. Here are Mandy's chicks guarded by their dad and doing well. In total we have 64 chicks, 3 unfortunately have died and 13 are being treated for Diphtheria. We are in the thick of it now but every day we do a round and don't find dead chicks is a great day!