We always get nervous showing these kinds of photos at WWT Slimbridge, because whilst I know that they are having an extended forty winks after hatch, everyone panics that they are sick! These little Koloa (left to right 1,3,4) did not have an easy time of it during hatch! A healthy egg should normally exhibit movement in an around the internal membrane on day 27 of incubation, and throughout the day the duckling pierces this membrane and enters the airspace. These little guys however became stuck to their membrane, and were forced to sort of hatch through it. This makes the whole process of pipping, rotation and breathing oh so difficult! As a result they needed lots of tlc post hatch, including regular manual drinks and bottom checks. The Southern red-billed whistling duck has become their great friend, proving an excellent hot water bottle and excellent feeding role model. Koloa are very close to the top of our breeding priorities list this year, so every effort has been made to keep them healthy. Our favourite breeding female is now sat on a second clutch, so hopefully we shall add to the year’s total very soon!
These lovely North American black duck, Patagonian and Puna are also a welcome addition to the duckery at this time due to their cute aesthetics during Downy Duckling Week. We open our doors at Slimbridge from 2nd – 10th June all day, and once a day until 24th June, to allow anyone and everyone to see behind the scenes. Come to Slimbridge!