THE WHOOPING CRANE REPORT: 9
Exercising The Chicks
Our newest streaming video shows clips of young whooper chicks getting their daily exercise. All young animals need exercise to develop properly, and whoopers are no exception. All the chicks have access to an outside run where they can probe, move around, and run and play. But even so they need routine, planned exercise to grow strong, straight legs and feet. Without adequate exercise, the chicks are in danger of developing leg and toe problems from their rapid growth.
These chicks range in age from 2 to 4 weeks. Brenda and Lillian, in costume and using crane puppet heads, get the chicks used to following them by leading them up and down a grassy aisle way outside their own runs. When they get older, they'll progress to a larger environment and take longer walks. The chicks are walked for 20 minutes, stopping to regroup at each end. When they pause, the technicians use the puppet head and mealworms to encourage the chicks to explore the area and probe. They also use the puppet to intervene when the chicks start to fight. Aggression in young cranes is natural, but the techs make sure no one gets hurt. Once the chicks are following again, their focus is on catching up with the techs and there is no time for squabbles.
Besides being walked for exercise, chicks are also swum in a large pool. The two different forms of exercise provide a good variety of movement. The chicks' most rapid growth is between 10 and 25 days of age. After that the need for extra exercise is reduced, as the chicks put a lot of energy into growing feathers and their body growth slows.
Whooper Chick Video (160x120)
Whooper Chick Video (320x240)
Our first video, footage of a 3-day old whooper chick who is learning to eat and drink, is still available for viewing here.
Please check our site on July 26 for a web page update and new footage!
Click here to ask questions about Patuxent's whooping crane program. Please check our site on July 26 for a web page update and new crane footage!Whooping Crane Reports
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).