Firstly, a huge thank you to the 111 people who pledged in our 2016 Crowdfunder helping us raise money to build a Flamingo Rearing Facility. Your support was fantastic and the Baby Barn is now in full operation providing adorable fluffball flamingo chicks with the perfect place to be raised. The Baby Barn will also be used to rear chicks of endangered ducks and geese, and grouse including the infamous capercaillie.
This year, ten eggs arrived and nine flaminglings are growing well: thanks to your help!
Photo: One day old flaminglings resting after their epic two day hatch into the world (left). Five day old chicks enjoying their first paddle (right).
The next stage for the Chilean flamingos is to build a purpose built house to protect them from summer heat, ice and winter winds.
Here is an opportunity to make a real difference in flamingo conservation. Chilean flamingos breed late in the year which means there isn't enough day-length for the skin to generate vitamin D from sunlight, which is vital for strong bone growth.
Photos: Three week old (left) and eight week old (right) flaminglings catching some rays for strong bone growth.
Chicks hatching when the days are shortening don't get enough sunlight to develop strong bones. A flamingo with weak or bendy bones won't survive. Rearing these chicks in the Baby Barn through the dark winter under artificial conditions gives these late laid eggs a chance.
At every opportunity the flaminglings are taken out for a stroll to exercise their legs and catch some sunshine.
Everybody is welcome to come and see the flaminglings and to join us in celebrating their journey into adulthood.
Photo: four - six week old flaminglings enjoying the view from the Baby Barn.
We hope to take on late eggs for many years, providing them with all the care and time-consuming feeds that are required to grow successfully. The youngsters will be released onto the lake in the spring. The house and the lake have enough space for around sixty flamingos. After we have reared sixty flamingos we will continue to take late eggs and rear them to help other flamingo flocks. If a flock has less than forty birds it won't breed and will need some juveniles to boost their numbers and therefore their confidence. Helping other flamingo flocks is something we are in a position to do.
This Crowdfunder will hopefully buy the materials needed to build the flamingo house.
There are no labour costs as we can do the build with the help of our wonderful volunteers.
Photo: scanned image of the flamingo house front view and plan. We also have Planning consent.
The flamingo house will be in a big walk-through aviary allowing people to be in with the birds and enjoy watching them fly and to enjoy their other intriguing natural behaviours. Putting a netted roof over the lake will also protect the eggs of these birds when they breed in the future; and allow the ducks and other birds on the lake to rear their chicks in safety. It'll be amazing to see.
Thank you for reading.
Photo: three day old flamingling chilling out, letting one of its many feeds go down.