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Kiwi bird hatched after 78 days of incubation

The first week of spring has brought the first kiwi chick of the season.

Tuatahi, meaning first in Maori, hatched at Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua, on Thursday.

Dad Para sat on the egg for 59 days in the Maungataniwha Forest in Hawkes Bay before the egg was lifted and delivered to the centre, where the team incubated it through to hatch, Kiwi Encounter husbandry manager Claire Travers said.

“After 78 days of incubation the chick was so keen to hatch that he/she kicked its hocks out of the rear end of the shell.

“Unlike other birds, kiwi chicks don’t have an egg tooth to chip their way out of the egg, instead they rely on pushing their way out with their strong leg and neck muscles. So this chick needed a bit of assistance to hatch.”

One of the keepers taped a pad over the hocks for the chick to push against, and after a few more pushes it hatched, weighing a healthy 375g, Ms Travers said.

There were 11 eggs in incubation at the centre that came from across the North Island, with more due over the next few days.

One of the eggs already in incubation was close to hatching, with the rest a week or so away from emerging, she said.


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