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05 Oct 2011

Staff handrear baby flamingos hatched too late to be loved

Posted in All

A Chilean flamingo chick

Three flamingo babies are being handreared by workers at an attraction in Gloucestershire after they hatched out of season.

The Chilean flamingo eggs hatched a month later than the norm leading to fears that the shortened day length and less receptive mood of the adult birds might mean they would fail to be given the attention they need.

Workers at Slimbridge Wetland Centre have been giving the fluffy chicks round-the-clock care to ensure all their needs are met.

The 12 day old youngsters have been fed every two hours, weighed each day and taken out for walks.

Chilean flamingos are threatened in the wild and this year is the first in five that the flock at Slimbridge has had any offspring.

Their pen was redesigned with a superior breeding island and the work has paid off as three others were also hatched earlier in the summer and are with the main flock.

When the three babies are old enough they will rejoin the flock of about 130 flamingos.

Phoebe Young aviculture warden, said: “We took the decision to handrear these three as we were concerned that with the shortened day length the parents wouldn’t be able to invest enough care into their upbringing.

“If they are fed too much or too little this really impacts on their health so this way we can ensure that it is just right.

“I have been mixing eggs, with porridge oats, pilchards and vitamins and minerals in a solution and tube feeding them.

“They cry out for the food and are always begging for more!

“It has been a really demanding job being a flamingo mum but it is fantastic to see them doing so well and growing each day.”

Slimbridge is the only place in the world where you can see all six species of flamingo.

The bird only develops its distinctive pink colour at two years old.

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