When we last checked in with our Andean Condor chick, she weighed 3600 grams at just under two months.
Now after three months, she is an incredible 6280 grams! We can hardly believe how fast she’s grown, especially considering she weighed a mere 100 grams when she hatched in early December.
But there’s more for our chick to be proud of than just her increased size; she has two other very big things going on.
Firstly she’s starting to get her adult feathers. The beginnings of these feathers look a little like short porcupine quills and are called ‘pin feathers’. These are shafts enclosing the developing feather.
As the adult feather develops, the chick will remove the shaft and her feathers will appear “normal”.
Even when she’s fully-grown she’ll replace feathers in the same way, in a process called moulting. Until then, this pin-up chick still has a lot of growing ahead of her.
The second exciting thing for our chick is that she is now eating whole food items rather than relying on mum and dad for a regurgitated meal.
It may sound gross, but initially these items were small, primarily defrosted mice. A milestone was reached today though as she consumed her very first whole rat. Feats such as this definitely make her daddy’s little girl.
The chick still hasn’t made her way onto display yet, but is growing bolder every day (and making even more of a mess in her nest box). We’ll be sure to let you know when she finally does.
Bird Keeper, Brendan Host