Watch on kiwi eggs at bird park

Nicole Kunzmann turns two kiwi eggs in their incubation pod at the Kiwi Birdlife Park. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Nicole Kunzmann turns two kiwi eggs in their incubation pod at the Kiwi Birdlife Park. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Staff at the Kiwi Birdlife Park are anxiously waiting to see if two kiwi chicks will emerge from eggs which are in incubation.

The eggs were laid by North Island brown kiwi Tawahi last November and December. Park wildlife manager Nicole Kunzmann said that unusually for birds, kiwis had two functioning ovaries and the eggs were both produced in one breeding season.

Ovulation occurs in alternate ovaries if the kiwi becomes pregnant more than once in a season.

The second egg arrived 25 days after the first.

Ms Kunzmann said the eggs were turned 45 degrees four times a day to allow all sides to receive nutrients and this mimicked what the male kiwi did in the wild.

The eggs are being incubated by staff because of male Tamanuhi's reluctance to carry out his duty.

Kiwi eggs in the wild had a 50% hatch rate, and Ms Kunzmann said it was touch and go whether the eggs would hatch.

''If it does hatch, it will hatch mid-February.''

''We will see what happens. We will do everything we can to help hatch our chicks.''

The last kiwi chick hatched at the park was Tuku, in December 2011. It was released in May to Maungataniwha Sanctuary, north of Hawkes Bay, once it had reached 1kg.

The eggs are part of the Breed for Recovery programme and any hatched kiwi chicks would be kept at the park until they reached 1kg - as this greatly increases their chances of survival - before being released into a pest-free sanctuary.