October 01, 2009 by dyertrust

On Lauren Wallers (PhD researcher) nest rounds last week she came across a nest where previously the adults were incubating two eggs. Being interested to see what happens to this nest as it is very late in the season for penguins to be incubating and they should be coming to the end of breeding and preparing for their moult fast.

Lauren found what she thought was two dead day old chicks in the nest that had possibly been abandoned by parents who had left for their pre-moult fattening. As she began collecting all the dead specimens the chicks peeped at her. The chicks were slowly dying of hunger and cold. They rushed the chicks inside the housing area at Dyer, blowing on them to keep them warm. The weaker one stopped breathing and the manager, Deon Geldenhuys fromCapeNatureblew in its mouth. After throwing up some green liquid (the chicknot the manager), it started breathing again. They managed to keep the chicks warm, and with a call to Venessa Strauss from SANCCOB, set up a feeding regime. SANCCOB had donated a lamp that they could use to warm chicks up, and so Deon performed some MacGyver trick and set up an incubator for the chicks.

They were 60g when they were found and needed feeding 10% of their body weight every 6 hours. At night when the generator was switched off, they had a hot water bottle, which was changed at 2 am in the morning to make sure it stayed warm. They knew they had survived the night, when around 5 am they were screeching for food. After a few days, they were able to get them to SANCCOB, and the last they heard they were about 120g. To read moreclick here.