Mar 04

Penguin Baby Boom Shows SeaWorld’s Breeding Program at Work

by Staff

A record seven king penguin chicks have hatched at SeaWorld Orlando in the first two months of 2010. It's a baby boom!

One was born in January and the other six were born in February.

The first king penguin chick to ever hatch at SeaWorld was King Louis in August 1990. Since then more than sixty chicks have hatched at the Orlando Park. It is routine to have three or four chicks each breeding season so to have seven is outstanding.

A group of adult King penguins stands proud with a baby King.

The chicks weighed between 180g to 247g when they were born. Let's put that in everyday terms: considering that a nickel is exactly 5 grams, holding a king penguin chick is like holding 35 - 50 nickels in the palm of your hand.

When a chick is born they stay under mom or dad for approximately six to eight weeks to stay warm. Once they emerge from under their parents they are given a color coded band that allows aviculturists identify who is whom.

So far, none of the chicks have been given names because their gender is yet unknown. When they fledge from their parents around six to eight months of age, it will be determined.

As babies, the penguins will eat capelin and herring that their parents regurgitate for them to grow big and strong. And, our chicks have already started putting on the pounds. The oldest chick already weighs over twelve pounds.