FLAMINGO BREEDING UPDATE

Have you been wondering about the incubation of our flamingo eggs? Well it’s been a really busy summer! We went from two pairs to six known pairs with eggs and several eggs with unknown parentage (none of the birds would take responsibility for them when questioned…). We were so excited to observe two of our chicks from 2010 pair up and lay an egg.  Sometimes hand reared animals don’t act “normal” like those that are parent reared. We got to talking and thought maybe we should pull the dummy eggs and see if we couldn’t get them to double clutch or lay a second egg. We could then have the possibility of more chicks, especially if the first eggs were infertile. Well the pairs performed great! Everyone had a second egg and we said “that’s all for this year, as we tricked them into the double clutch.” Well the birds must not have gotten THAT memo. Three of the pairs decided they really didn’t like the plastic dummy eggs, kicked them out of the nest, and laid another egg. During this period we also had two other eggs show up in the mud, parents unknown. Okay, what to do next? We really didn’t want the birds to lay anymore eggs as they might end up with a calcium deficiency. So we pulled the eggs and gave them infertile real eggs. One pair decided, okay we’ll keep it. Another said, nope ain’t happening and laid another egg. We gave them a different infertile egg to work with. This seemed to work and our pairs on the nests set about incubating their eggs. We hadn’t had any eggs since 5 September so I thought I was okay with an update. I should have known better. As I was writing this blog, a call came over the radio about another flamingo egg left in the mud. This makes number 20, from six known females. Maybe they are making up for lost time? Of course, we may need to recheck some of the sexes on the male birds. I am sorry to say, as of this update, we have not had any chicks. We did have one egg that was definitely fertile, but died mid incubation. We had three that we were unsure of their development. The remaining eggs have been infertile. We’ll have to wait and see on this latest egg. And as I have been telling the animal staff, “There’s always next year!”

 

About Cheryl Dykstra

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Animal Management Supervisor, Birds and Fish

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