Nests, Eggs and Incubation

To help our breeding pairs we provide nesting material made up of sticks, twigs and grass.  Cape Vultures mound this into piles to make their rather untidy looking nests.

Our breeding pairs are all wild vultures that can’t live in the wild anymore.  Some have lost a wing due to power line collisions; some have leg or eye injuries, all of them have been saved by VulPro at some point.  They live out happy healthy lives at VulPro, as a part of our captive breeding programme.

In the wild the parents will lay one egg a year and incubate it for 54 days.  At VulPro we need to be able to breed as many chicks as possible so that we can try and save our wild vulture populations, by releasing our captive bred chicks into the wild.

Cape Vulture chick hatching
Cape Vulture chick hatching

Eggs are laid by the parents and then removed by us; they are kept in an incubator until they hatch.  Parents are given a dummy egg, which they sit on in the nest.  Once their real egg has hatched, the chick is put back with its parents for rearing.

Vulpro has a special room called a Brooder and Incubating Room, this is where we can incubate the eggs and bring up any chicks that wouldn’t survive with their parents.  It was specially designed and built to allow for the best care possible for our eggs and chicks.

Captive bred Cape Vulture chick at VulPro
Captive bred Cape Vulture chick at VulPro

Sometimes parent birds are inexperienced as first time parents and each vulture chick is so important to the species’ survival that we may hand rear the chick until it is strong enough to survive with its parents.

Once the captive bred chicks are old enough, we tag them and let them grow up until they can be released.

Look out for the next vulture story where we tell you about: Tagging, Releasing and Satellite Tracking

 

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