The Bank Cormorant Project – Diary Of A Keeper – Part V
Published: May 14, 2015Living Coasts’ senior keeper Lois Rowell has gone to spend 6 weeks in South Africa with local bird charity SANCCOB to help with our joint bank cormorant project. Here’s her fifth blog entry.
25/04/15 - A bit shattered, five days of early shifts, taxi comes at 5.15 am and then there’s a full day’s work to do. The trouble is I have noisy neighbours, too, got about three hours sleep last night. They may have left because all is quiet so far this evening, I’m keeping my fingers crossed! All chicks are thriving on the pinkie diet (pinkie and fish meat blended)
I went in this morning to find that one of the chicks has a greenstick fracture of one of the little bones in its mouth pouch. A greenstick fracture is when a bone bends and cracks instead of breaking entirely. It happens in young animals because their bones are soft and flexible. The duty vet checked it out. It looks almost normal except when it begs for food its mouth is lop sided. We are monitoring it for a few days to see if it stabilises. They may give it a calcium injection. It had one earlier in the week. We have covered the incubator so it doesn’t see people and beg between feeds.
The other two chicks are fine and doing very well. We carried out post mortem exams on three of the eggs yesterday. All had fully formed chicks inside, so they have been sent for bacterial and viral tests as we think that is likely to be the cause of death.
The blackouts seem to have stopped for a while, they said they might over this weekend because it is a public holiday Monday (Freedom Day). This means we do not have to worry about the electricity supply.
01/05 – The chick that had the operation seems fine. It has had a rod stitched to the outside if the mouth along the bone, essentially a splint. It is on medication. I haven’t fed it yet, its next feed is due at 3.00 pm so I will know more then. I haven’t disturbed it yet.
The two larger chicks are looking good, they are out in their crates in the sun at the moment. I am going to give them some larger pieces of food today and see how they manage it, possibly a bit of sardine fillet. I will see how they go.
05/05 – The bank cormorant chicks are doing well. the two oldest have reached the fussy eater stage, we have to coax them to eat – it’s a natural stage. The birds are getiing much bigger and weigh 1.3kg and 1.2kg. The two oldest are in together all day, the smallest just gets visits as it is a lot smaller. It has its splint off tomorrow.