Tiny grebes defy odds with help from RSPCA hospital

SHAKY START: Australasian grebes that hatched at the RSPCA campus at Wacol over Christmas and Boxing Day.
SHAKY START: Australasian grebes that hatched at the RSPCA campus at Wacol over Christmas and Boxing Day. Sarah Harvey

TWO Australasian grebes are defying the odds and are prospering at the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital at Wacol.

It is virtually unheard of for the chicks to survive after hatching away from the wild, but that is what has happened thanks to the loving care of veterinary nurse Madeline Riemecker.

Two eggs were found in the wild by some children whose parents then handed them over to a wildlife carer who brought them into the hospital.

They hatched on Boxing Day and the two chicks are doing well.

"They are a water bird and it almost unheard of that the chicks survive after the eggs have hatched in a carer situation," RSPCA Wildlife Hospital spokesman Michael Beatty said.

"It is notoriously hard to get them to survive in those sort of circumstances but that is what Maddie has done. But so far, so good.

"They need a really diverse diet and the problem is that there are no details of exactly what that diet is.

"In the wild the parents feed them feathers as part of their diet and there is some thought that it helps to line their stomach.

"Maddie has to feed them about eight times a day and she takes them home at night as well."


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