Six kakapo chicks have been transferred from Whenua Hou Codfish Island to be hand reared in Invercargill.
The chicks are part of a group of 11 hatched this season.
They are healthy, but the rimu crop which is their natural diet, has failed to ripen, placing these representatives of a critically endangered species at risk.
The manager of the Kakapo Recovery Programme, Deidre Scott, says left to their own devices, all of them would have died.
She says four of the mothers have managed to continue feeding chicks with supplementary food provided by staff and volunteers.
Ms Scott says it's hoped those that are being hand reared will be returned to the island in about six weeks.
She says with a total population of just 131, their survival is vital.