As the kiwi hatchling tried to break its way free from its egg, our birds team watched anxiously as the chick seemed to struggle with the immense task, and was taking longer than expected. After some time the decision was made to manually assist the hatching process, piercing the outer shell and breaking a few pieces of the shell off so the chick could make its way out.
Unlike most other hatchlings, kiwis do not have an egg tooth on their beak to help them break free from their eggs, instead they push their way out of their shells using their very strong legs. This chick, fittingly named Āwhina, which is Maori for ‘to assist or help’, hatched with a swollen and slightly injured leg. It is possible that this was the reason it couldn’t force its way out of its shell. With some medicine and under the watchful gaze of our vet team and keepers, Āwhina came right in its own time, and is now a healthy young female.