Hello friends and family
A new month, a new season and plenty of challenges ahead. This week has been overshadowed by the need to make a decision about our tiny chick handling this season.
Tiny chicks die without help. For the last 20 years it has been Diphtheric Stomatitis (DS) that has affected more and more chicks until in the last 2 seasons, all chicks got infected, at a younger and younger age. Last season, some even hatched with it. We have been very effective in treating this in the field.
At the same time, Respiratory Distress syndrome (RDS) which manifests as random deaths has been increasing in frequency and proportion of chicks infected. This has no known cure, but the chicks uplifted to the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital at 3-5 days old, survived it. We had 34 chicks die from it, the worst infection rate so far. It was a tough decision, but the team stepped up to it and we will be taking our chicks to Dunedin Wildlife Hospital in an effort to improve their survival. We are lucky to have this option available and are very appreciative of the help.
In the meantime, the penguins are pairing up and selecting nest sites. Soon we will know how effective our huge efforts in rehab were earlier in the year. On Tuesday morning we were joined by the local National Party candidate to bring him up to speed about the issues facing penguins.
On Friday we showed the new community liaison lady from Port Blakely around the Bluffs. The weather remained glorious until Saturday when it became cloudy and damp. The lambs on the farm are arriving and spring is in the air!
Have a great week!