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A Helping Hand for a Hatching Humboldt

A rare Humboldt penguin chick has arrived at Drusillas Park with a little help from the keepers at the zoo.

Humboldt penguins hatch after approximately 40 days with greyish downy feathers. Both parents work together to feed and care for their young and the chicks leave the nest at around 10 - 12 weeks.

The baby penguin emerged from its shell on Wednesday 2 April and is doing well alongside proud parents Marble and Reef. However, in order to help this cheeky chick break out, the zoo team were first required to step in.

Keepers noticed the new arrival had created a small hole in the egg on Tuesday evening but it was not until the following afternoon that the chick finally broke free.

Deputy Head Keeper, Jason O’Connell commented: “Hatching can be a difficult time and it can take a while depending on the chick’s own strength”

“In the case of our new Humboldt chick, the shell membrane had become dry over time making the whole process a lot more difficult. We therefore helped the chick along its way by moistening the shell and making the hole it had already created a tiny bit bigger.”

“The chick is doing really well now and we are pleased with his progress. He will be cared for by his parents within the safety of the nest box over the next few weeks, before finally waddling out onto the beach in time for summer.”

The Humboldt penguin chick is not the only baby bird to put in an appearance in time for Easter. Down on the farm, four fluffy chicks have also hatched in Cluckingham Palace and are making egg-cellent progress. Baby lovebirds are also expected in the not too distant future; further proof that spring has finally sprung at the zoo. 

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