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Diary of a Kiwi Chick

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What happens after you tap, tap, and crack your shell

Here I am with my roomie having a good sniff around the new foliage added to our brooder room.

There is a strange serenity about being tucked in a shell for almost 80 days. You’d think it would be cramped in there, but it’s really quite cosy.

Outside my egg is a whole new world. The morning after I hatched I was sitting outside my egg when the humans arrived for work. Of course, they came over to me, huge grins on their faces. Apparently, I’d done quite the tidy job of hatching myself. Kiwi chicks hatch fully feathered, so it wasn’t long before the humans realised I was slightly different from the other chicks.

I’m a rare chick because the feathers around my right leg and bottom are white! It’s a generic trait the humans have only seen at Kiwi Encounter a handful of times. Did you know some kiwi are born with ALL white feathers? Amazing right?

It seems many humans find my white feathers exciting, because they’ve all written stories about me! My feathered bottom has featured in national news, on radio interviews, and even the NZ Herald’s Instagram. As a humble kiwi, I’m not letting the fame go to my head – but I know it means more people will hear about the important work they do for kiwi here at Kiwi Encounter. And that’s awesome!

But back to my post-hatching. The humans have moved me to a new room, they call it the Brooder Room. This is where all new kiwi chicks go once they’ve hatched. It’s quiet and warm – behind soundproof glass from our many visitors.

I have a room-mate! We’ll be sharing a wee brooder room for the next 3 or 4 weeks. My new pal is a lovely little chick from the Otanewainuku Forest. We like to snuggle in our hutch when we sleep. Kiwi are generally independent birds, but as chicks it’s nice to have a companion.

During my first couple of days the humans monitored me closely for any signs of trouble. All up I’ve been very healthy! I had my first weigh-in on 30 September, and came in at 296 grams – small but healthy. They weigh us every day to monitor progress.

My first official health check was on day five. The humans scooped me up and took me to a clean bench where they inspected my eyes, ears, mouth, tummy and navel. They also make sure I’m standing and walking nicely – a test which I passed with flying colours!

Two days later I had my first feed! After I hatched for the first week I got all my sustenance from my yolk sac in my tummy – which I gradually absorbed. It was like a ‘packed lunch’ that my Mum gave to me when she laid me as an egg. In the wild this means I don’t have to venture outside to feed for a few days. This means I can start to practice manipulating the food from the tip of my bill and into my mouth before I really need to eat too much.

At first, I had NO idea what I was doing – food was falling everywhere. But I’ve now got the hang of it and am gaining weight nicely. Anyway – that’s me. Next week I’m looking forward to growing up big and strong enough to be able to defend myself! Stay tuned for further updates.