Rockhopper penguin chick hatches at Shedd Aquarium

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Known for now as chick #23, the Shedd’s newest Rockhopper Penguin hatched June 9. | Shedd Aquarium photo

What’s fuzzy, gray and weighs about as much as an orange? That would be chick No. 23, a newly hatched rockhopper penguin and the newest addition to the Shedd Aquarium.

Parents Annie and Edward built a nest in a cozy nook in the Shedd’s Polar Play Zone, and zoo experts noticed the first signs of the chick emerging from its egg two weeks ago.

The chick weighed just 2 ounces when it hatched June 9, a statement from the aquarium said. It has been growing steadily ever since, and weighed in at 7 ounces during a recent check-up.

The chick will be named at a later date, the aquarium said. It is already trying to groom its soft, down-like plumage, a big milestone for the little one.

Both parents are very attentive, and are sharing feedings duties—with a helping hand from aquarium penguin experts.

The Shedd’s penguin team aux pairs are hand-feeding the chick a supplementary diet of formula, made from blended herring, krill and vitamins, as well as small krill and herring filets.

The team will reduce the supplemental feedings as the penguin parents get more experienced at feeding the chick, according to the aquarium.

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Experts don’t yet know if the chick is a male or female. A test when it is a year old will reveal its gender. | Shedd Aquarium photo

There are no observable sex differences in rockhopper penguins, so experts don’t know yet if the chick is male or female. A genetic test after one year will reveal its gender.

Rockhopper penguins are considered a vulnerable species. The Shedd is currently home to more than 30 and has been part of a penguin breeding program since 1991.

The chick is currently on display in the Polar Play Zone, but is somewhat difficult to see in its nest. Experts say the little one will be up and hopping around on its own in about a month.

Rockhopper penguin chick | Shedd Aquarium photo

Rockhopper penguin chick | Shedd Aquarium photo

Rockhopper penguin chick | Shedd Aquarium photo

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