Barney Gumble, Milhouse and pals join our penguin colony.
Named after one of our penguin keeper’s favourite shows, we welcomed seven Humboldt penguin chicks this year, bringing our colony up to 35.
Milhouse the penguin chick
Some of our penguins are first time parents and are spending their days getting used to caring for their new bundles of joy – regurgitating food every four hours and making sure their chicks are nice and warm in their nests.
Barney Gumble hatched a little earlier than expected but turned out to be the biggest chick, a whopper like his dad, at 91 grams. Barney’s parents Jelly Tot and Bon Bon were two of the original colony that came to Folly Farm in 2013.
They were very young when they first met, but their relationship has blossomed and they decided this year they should start a family.
We caught up with one of our penguin keepers Caroline who said:
“Barney’s parents are like little and large, Jelly Tot is really cute and Bon Bon is one of our largest males and likes to throw his weight around! They’re first time parents but they’re doing really well so far. They are taking it in turns to feed Barney, he’s got a pot belly like his Simpson’s character, which is a sign of a healthy chick.”
The latest chick to hatch is yet to be named and we would love to have your help deciding whether it should be ‘Flanders’ or ‘Kent Brockman’. Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook and Twitter pages to vote.
“It was so exciting watching the new chicks hatch. Most of the time we just leave the animals to it but sometimes the chicks get tired and they need a helping hand. The dad is always in a bit of a flap waiting for new offspring and the males wait outside the nest. They’re not quite sure what to do, so they pace back and forth collecting more nesting material. It’s so funny and I’m sure similar scenes can be seen on maternity wards across the country! Once hatched, the chicks are soaking wet and will instantly cwtch up to mum to try and get their fluffy feathers dry and wait for their first taste of fish.”
This is our third waddle of penguin chicks since the original colony arrived in 2013, our previous hatchlings have been named after Disney characters which included Cogsworth and Scuttle and ice lollies with names like Magnum and Screwball.
Our penguin keepers weigh Chief Wiggum
Once all of our chicks hatch they will spend up to 12 weeks with their parents, then will be booted out of the nest and be taken to our penguin nursery where they will learn penguin life skills.
When our keepers are happy they can swim and eat fish by themselves, they will then have the chance to explore their new home at Penguin Coast.
And now for what happens when a photo shoot goes wrong…