Friday, April 24, 2009

Baby Time!

These are our first baby Red-browed Amazon parrots (Amazona rhodocorytha) of the 2009 season! RSCF has been breeding red-brows in captivity for close to 20 years, with the goal of eventually re-establishing these birds in their native forests of Brazil. These chicks hatched during the second and third weeks of April. Since they hatched we have been feeding around-the-clock every 1.5 to 2 hours. Upon hatching, they weighed 15.8, 14.7, and 14.5 grams respectively. The chicks are weighed daily, prior to feeding, to track weight gain and growth. These guys gained over twice their hatch weight in just three days! Red-brows gain weight quickly, averaging a 15% increase in total body weight per day.

Since Red-brows are the rarest South American parrot and at one time less than a dozen remained in captivity in the United States, every egg laid at RSCF's breeding and research center is removed from the nest, artificially incubated, and hand-raised to ensure optimum growth and development. If we are lucky, the breeding pair may re-clutch, producing more eggs than would naturally occur if the hens were allowed to sit and incubate the clutch on their own.

The fourth chick just hatched this morning--photos to come soon. There are several more eggs incubating that should be hatching over the next few days and weeks. This will definitely be a busy and exciting summer! Stay tuned for more updates!

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