What did zoo keepers do when two little chicks were reluctant to leave their eggs? At Great Britain’s Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary, keepers helped the tiny birds come out of their shells, ensuring the survival of two healthy Great Blue Turaco chicks.
Photo Credit: Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoo keeper Becky Waite explains that the zoo’s adult female Turacos are temperamental nesters, sometimes pushing eggs out of the nest or failing to feed their chicks. To give the Turaco chicks the best chance of survival, keepers decided to hand-rear the pair.
For the first ten days, keepers fed the chicks moistened pelleted food. Gradually, the chicks were introduced to greens and steamed broccoli, then bits of banana, mango, figs, and blueberries.
Turacos are altricial, meaning the young cannot move or feed themselves after hatching and require care from their parents (or zoo keepers). The chicks start out with sparse downy feathers, which are replaced by smooth feathers when the chick fledge (leave the nest).
Great Blue Turacos are native to western and central Africa and are the largest of all Turaco species. These birds are not considered under threat by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
See more photos of the chick below.