Three Chicks Join Penguin Flock
A same-sex pair is raising one of the chicks — a first for our Zoo

Three Gentoo Chicks Just Joined our Penguin Flock

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Published Jan. 7, 2021

We’re excited to welcome the arrival of three adorable Gentoo penguin chicks, hatched in December 2020! We’re also celebrating the beautiful differences of their families, because one of our newcomers was born to a same-sex pair — a first for the Indianapolis Zoo.

Same-sex pairings have also occurred with penguin species in the wild and in other zoos. Our two male birds became first-time dads when their chick hatched on Dec. 15. A female that’s actually paired with another penguin laid the egg and left it with the male couple, who have been caring for it ever since. Gentoo penguins co-parent their young, and just as a female-male pair would do, the two fathers have taken turns tending the nest, incubating the egg and now feeding the chick. 

Our first of our three chicks hatched a week earlier on Dec. 8 and the third chick came on Dec. 27, both to female-male pairs who are also first-time parents. All the adults are doing a great job as caregivers, and while we don’t know the gender of the two chicks, the young birds are both growing quickly. The first-born chick weighed 99.7 grams at birth and has grown to 2,000 grams (4 pounds, 6 ounces) at its most recent weigh in. The second chick has already grown to 1,405 grams (3 pounds, 1 ounce) from its birth weight of 114 grams.  

These are the first penguin chicks hatched here since 2012, and the first for our Gentoo flock since 2011.  

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