Weighing just 173 grams, the smallest kiwi chick ever to have hatched at Rotorua’s Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter has now arrived and is doing well.
Of all species in the world, kiwis are traditionally famed for laying the largest egg in relation to their body size, however this tiny specimen was considerably smaller than the average 700 gram kiwi egg.
On arrival from South Whirinaki Forest in January, the egg’s weight was just 217.6 grams compared to its clutch companion, which weighed in at 442.1 grams.
Kiwi Encounter Husbandry Manager, Claire Travers believed the tiny egg could have been laid in response to an issue in the mother’s reproductive tract or diet-related.
Naming rights of the North Island brown kiwi were auctioned on Trade Me and raised $1,000 for the National Kiwi Trust.
Now the chick has a name—Myfie. However, proceeds from the auction will only cover around 50% off the costs involved with raising a chick before releasing it into the wild.
Myfie is expected to stay at the centre for between 4-6 months before being released back into the wild by DOC staff. In the interim, Myfie will continue to be monitored daily and can be viewed during Kiwi Encounter tours, which are a major source of fundraising for the kiwi hatchery.
Kiwi Encounter is New Zealand’s largest and most successful kiwi conservation centre. It has hatched and nurtured over 1,300 eggs since 1995, when Rainbow Springs became involved in the Bank of New Zealand’s kiwi recovery programme, known as ‘Operation Nest Egg’.
Toni Thompson, Rainbow Springs’ Territory Manager gave an update on Myfie’s progress:
“Myfie is doing great and the sponsors who named her got the chance to meet her this weekend. She is gaining weight at a good pace but is still very tiny for his or her age. We still don’t know if Myfie is a male or female but should have DNA results in the next couple of months.
“If she continues on her current weight-gain trajectory, she will go outside into our runs in the next couple of weeks.”