Stage one – stocking kōhanga
Step four – incubating and hatching the eggs

A very young kiwi chick

When an egg arrives at one of the handful of specialist kiwi egg hatching facilities across the country, it is first washed and then placed in an incubator. The incubators mimic the conditions of a nest as closely as possible, keeping the egg at the right temperature and humidity.

Kiwi eggs being incubated.

Kiwi eggs being incubated.

Chicks can take a few days from first piercing the egg shell to being full hatched and it can be exhausting for them. The kiwi husbandry teams leave them to hatch as naturally as possible, unless the chick is in distress.

A kiwi chick beginning to hatch. The first breakthrough of the egg is called ‘pipping’.

A kiwi chick beginning to hatch. The first breakthrough of the egg is called ‘pipping’.

When it hatches, the chick is placed in a specialist brooder where it lives for around three weeks while it learns to feed independently and is strong enough to look after itself in a predator-free environment.

A young kiwi chick in a brooder at The National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa at Rainbow Springs.

A young kiwi chick in a brooder at The National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa at Rainbow Springs.

=> Step five – chick relocation.