A new Humboldt penguin chick has now been introduced to the penguin enclosure at the zoo at Sewerby Hall and Gardens.
Pickle, a female, is the first chick born there for 11 years, and was born after the new male arrival at the zoo, Sigsby (6) got together with Twinny (19) .
The pair initially proved to be good parents, taking it in turns to sit on the egg. But as time went on, the keepers noticed that Sigsby wasn’t taking his turns, and leaving Twinny to do all the sitting. Eventually, this became too much for Twinny, and the egg was left on its own.
At that point, head zookeeper John Pickering took the egg home and placed it in an incubator.
In due course, the egg hatched at home, though John had to help the chick break out of the egg, after it got stuck in the shell. John then hand reared the chick, with feeds of a blend of fish and saltwater four times a day, with the last daily feed sometimes at midnight. He fed the chick from a syringe, stimulating the feeding response of the chick by rubbing its beak. He was greatly helped in this by his wife Tracey, who also fed the new arrival. After 30 days, the chick moved on to small fish.
Now the chick has lost the remaining fluffy feathers on its head and is therefore waterproof, and has been introduced to the other adult penguins at the zoo.
The new chick is the first grandchild of Rosie (31), believed to be the oldest Humboldt penguin in the world.
Head zookeeper John Pickering said: “Hand rearing Pickle has been an adventure – very challenging at times, but ultimately hugely rewarding, and I am absolutely delighted that we have now been able to introduce her to the other penguins. And of course this means that our visitors to the zoo can now see her as well, and share in our excitement!”
Humboldt penguins are classed as vulnerable to extinction, so the news of the new arrival has been greeted with particular enthusiasm.
Follow the progress of the new chick online at www.sewerbyhall.co.uk