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Kiwi chick wings it

The team at Pukaha National Wildlife Centre are celebrating their newest arrival, which needed a helping hand to hatch earlier this month.

A pair of kiwi from Pukaha’s direct facility, Mapuna and Manawa had two eggs, but ranger Tara Swan said sadly one wasn’t viable.

“This one was alive, however,” Swan said.

“So we moved it into the incubation room where it could stay snug and warm.”

The baby kiwi peeking out. PHOTO/TARA SWAN

The baby kiwi peeking out. PHOTO/TARA SWAN

Kept at a temperature of 34.5 degrees Celsius, the egg was also gently rocked from side to side to mimic burrow conditions.

Kiwi eggs usually take between 72 to 78 days to hatch, and when on day 78 all that had appeared were the baby chick’s feet, Swan said they peeled back the shell slightly.

“We weren’t concerned but just wanted to see what was going on,” Swan said.

“Its little wing was blocking its beak, and it couldn’t break out.”

With a little assistance, Swan said it managed to hatch without any further complication and weighed just over 250g.

It’s the fifth kiwi to join Pukaha’s direct facility, and Swan said it is in perfect health.

“It’s a feisty wee thing already.”

A name for the chick will be decided by Rangitāne.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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