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|November 30, 2012 - Tracy Camp|
Today I was assigned to the ICU again. It is nice to have the opportunity to work in the same area twice in a row. It helps me to understand and get a hold on how the day is organized. There are still 48 birds in the ICU. Some already appear bigger and stronger than they were yesterday in just one day’s time!
The morning started promptly at 8 a.m. with our morning meeting and updates. Then it was time to start the daily regimen. First, all 48 birds needed to receive a darrows solution, which is electrolytes to help hydrate them. It takes close to one hour to tube each of them their fluids. Once everyone had their morning bellies full with that, it was time to relocate all 48 to the outdoor pen for some sunshine and fresh air. There are different sized chicks in the ICU, so when relocating them outside, you must keep track of which ones are considered the bigger chicks and then the smaller chicks. They get separated into two outdoor pens as such. This helps keep the smaller ones safe from the bigger ones.
There are also eight birds in the ICU currently that need to go into the nebulizer three times each day. They go in for 15 minutes at a time to help them if they have a respiratory infection, or "sound chesty" as the staff would say. Then it's time to feed everyone their morning fish. Most of the birds currently get just fish tails so that their bellies don't get too full. The heads of the fish will become yummy fish formula, or fish milkshakes as I call them.
After fish, the chicks’ indoor area needs to be cleaned; swept, mopped, and set back up with towels and sheets for the next day. Then the rest of the day keeps flowing with tubing water, then formula, then fish feed, then darrows and lastly formula again. Including the nebulizing treatments, record keeping for all 48 patients, moving the birds back into the ICU indoor area and then cleaning the outdoor area for the next day. Whew! What a day! When you add it all up, that’s about 500 times per day that you have to handle a penguin! All in all, I hadn't finished with everything until about 7:15 p.m.
Even though I was busy, I still took time to enjoy my little 630! His quirky little personality helped me stop to laugh in the middle of the hectic schedule.
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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