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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 May, 2004, 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK
Scheme hatched for flamingo eggs
Flamingos around their nests
Eggs are taken from the Flamingo nests and replace with wooden ones
Flamingo eggs at a bird centre in Gloucestershire are being swapped for wooden substitutes to stop the real ones being smashed during fights.

Staff at the Wildfowl at Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge are worried that fighting amongst adult Greater Flamingos could damage the eggs.

When the eggs are laid they are taken from the bird's mud nests and replaced with the wooden doppelgangers.

The eggs are returned just before they are due to hatch a month later.

Niky Muirhead, a research assistant at the centre, said: "The nests are stacked up in piles made from mud and are around 1ft high so are a bit precarious.

"When the birds fight over the nests, the eggs can easily get knocked or kicked off.

"This is sometimes done on purpose during fights over sites."

The birds started laying their eggs in early 2004, and there are already 57 eggs from more than 100 birds.

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