One of the more interesting or unusual jobs we are involved in is helping the staff at Kiwi Encounter with some of their Kiwi eggs that are not following ‘the script’ when it comes to hatching.
In some cases we have to xray the egg to help identify where the chick’s bill is to ensure it is pointing into the air sac at the top of the egg. This air sac allows the chicks to breathe as they enter into the hatching phase.
In some cases the bill is not in the correct position (malpositioned) and the staff at Kiwi Encounter have to find where the bill is and place a small hole in the egg shell to allow to chick to breathe. In some cases they may even have to assist the chick to hatch.
The timing of any assistance needs to be very precise because this final stage of incubation is when the chicks ‘internalize’ all the yolk in the egg providing the chicks with energy/food over the first few days of life outside the egg.
Taking on all the waifs and strays is a occupational hazard as a Vet Nurse. This is not helped by my belief that every animal is destined for a particular home and that everything happens for a reason. Little Lucy Pig was no exception.
One morning while on a break, I was having a chat to hubby about possibly purchasing some pigs. A wonderful couple came into VETPlus Rural with a little bundle. Inside was a 3 day old piglet. She had been found in a trough of water half drowned after wondering too far from mum. She had a very low temperature and lungs full of water. The owners of the piglet kindly offered her to me as her mum was struggling with her rather large litter. This was a sign how could I not take her after having that very conversation!
Despite being told by several Vets that she would most likely not survive, with expert care from Chris, Claire, Michelle and Mel she is now thriving. At first we had to get up every hour to our demanding little bundle and after a few days she gave us an extra hour between feeds. She is now four weeks old and has gone from a tiny 1kg to a stroppy determined 6kg’s. Her favorite game is hide and seek with the cats and running around with the dogs.
by Terri Nathan Veterinary Nurse