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26 October 2017

Eating a lot of food so I can get big and strong

by Bloomers the Kiwi

I LOVE FOOD. Let's just put that out there now.

I have really been enjoying getting my daily dose of ox heart, fruit and veggies. In the wild I would most likely be eating insects and fallen berries by now, but here at Kiwi Encounter the menu is little more extensive. The food here ensures I am getting enough vitamins, proteins and other good stuff to help me grow big and strong.

While I am small I would be susceptible to predators in the wild like stoats (raise your hand or wing if you don’t like stoats!). But the rule here is once kiwi are 1kg in weight we are strong enough to fend off any danger, and can ultimately leave the Kiwi Encounter nest.

I’m lucky enough to be heading to Motutapu Island – a completely predator free island, where I can grow up safely and become an important part of a ‘kōhanga kiwi’ or founder population. This means that when I’m big enough to find a partner and have chicks of my own, they can go off to other safe places around New Zealand and start new kiwi populations to make sure numbers keep increasing for generations to come!

Because reaching that 1kg weight is my main goal, life for me right now is pretty much eat, sleep, repeat – with a little foraging in my hutch and some snuggling with my room-mate. The humans check on us once a day, and we have regular weigh-ins and health checks to make sure everything is going okay. I’ve become quite fond of the humans.

The other day they got me out to be weighed, and the funniest thing happened. I was being carried over to the weigh station when I noticed a whole load of humans I’d never seen before standing behind a panel of glass. One of the other kiwi have since told me these humans are visiting the Encounter and some have never even seen a kiwi before! That explains why they were pointing and smiling at me.

I’m still a little shy, but how awesome is it that the humans are interested in me? After all, it’s their interest that means Kiwi Encounter can continue to help my species.

Save Kiwi Month

We’re now at the end of Save Kiwi Month. Running throughout October, this month is all about celebrating and raising awareness of the incredible work humans do for kiwi conservation.

Did you know Kiwi Encounter is the largest kiwi hatchery in the world? They do incredible work for chicks like me here – looking after our eggs, raising us to 1kg, and either sending us to our forever homes or raising us for a while longer in outdoor enclosures.

This month alone 36 kiwi chicks have hatched here! This special month also brought us an amazing milestone and a new friend for me: we had our 1700th chick hatch! The humans were pretty excited about it, and so they should be. It’s taken a lot of hard work, sweat and tears from many, many humans to hatch and raise nearly 2000 of us.

I would just like to say, on behalf of all my kiwi pals, thank you humans – for helping save our species.

In my next blog, I’ll be telling you all about my release into the wild. Stay tuned to see what happens and where I end up…