The Facility

The Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow is a 140m² building featuring that has been designed so that there is a smooth, step-by-step transition through each stage of the incubating, hatching and brooding process. There are dedicated spaces for each step, all designed so that the highest sanitary standards can be maintained, maximizing the eggs’ and chicks’ chances of survival.

Our Home – Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary

For the last ten years Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary has been a crèche for kiwi chicks. With the support of its owner, Gary Lane, the course installed a predator-proof fence around the perimeter of the property. It nows plays host to a range of native and exotic bird species including takahe and kiwi.

For kiwi, Wairakei provides a safe home where they can grow from their hatch weight (approx’ 200gms) till they are 1kg. At this weight they are big enough to fight off stoats and can be returned to the predator-managed areas that the egg was lifted from.

Now Wairakei will also play host to the Crombie Lockwood Kiwi Burrow. A centre of excellence for a range of kiwi management programmes.

We know there will be lots of interest from the public, school groups and the like to see our kiwi chicks. However, unlike many of the nocturnal houses dotted around the country, our facility is designed essentially for processing as many eggs/chicks as possible. Accordingly, we are not open to visits from members of the public.

Egg Preparation Room

The Egg Preparation Room is the first port of call for eggs delivered to the Burrow. Here the egg will be cleaned and candled by our specialists. What’s “candling”? Candling is where a specially-designed torch is used to illuminate the interior of the egg. By placing the torch against the shell our staff are able to inspect the chick as it develops, identifying its age, the development of veins, bill, etc. This is done when the egg first arrives so that we can ascertain whether the egg is ‘viable’, i.e. a healthy chick will likely hatch from the egg.

Incubation Room

Once the egg has been cleaned and inspected it is transferred to our Incubator Room. The Incubation Room houses four large incubators that have capacity for up to xx eggs. These machines replicate the heating and insulation that the egg would typically receive from the kiwi “dad”. The machines also automatically rotate the eggs. This is another function that the “dad ” does, turning the egg approximately 90° each day. And to make sure we have replicated what happens in nature we’ll take the eggs out for an hour each day to mirror what would happen when the “dad” heads out each night to grab a drink and some food.

Hatch Room

As the chick develops and is almost ready to hatch we relocate the egg to our Hatch Room. Here we get ready to welcome our newest kiwi. And once they have busted out of their shells we’ll keep them here for a day or two to keep an extra close eye on them.

Brooder Room

For the first few weeks of their lives, our kiwi chicks will live in our brooder room. They’ll learn to roam, drink, forage for food and they’ll regain some of the weight they lose when they first break out of their shells. Fun fact: We include some small stones in their diet as they will use these to help digest their food (sort of like we have molars).