It's amazing how fast they grow when they're young. In the beginning, even just coming back to work after a weekend, they would look huge to me. Thinking about birth in the Antarctic, you understand why they grow so quickly, because they have to be ready to go into the water and hunt as soon as that brief polar summer ends.
Once they grew in their waterproof feathers and learned to swim, we put the chicks on exhibit. You can visit them in the penguin house at the Polar Circle. Come see if you can pick out our chicks from the adults!
It's exciting for us to see the chicks interact with the older birds. They're still learning where each others' territories are, and finding their own spots. Just like their wild cousins do, our penguins each defend a small territory with their mate. So it's a learning experience for the chicks—over time, they'll find their places.
Being raised by keepers means the chicks are accustomed to handling during vet visits, feedings, weighings, and other routine care. Now they stay calm around their human caretakers, but are members of the colony, too. It's a win-win situation.