I have been positively giddy about Stuart recovering completely from his leg injury. He can walk and even run again without any sign of pain or a limp. I have also been pleased that he has been pastured with Chica without incident. If you are a regular reader, you’ll remember that she has displayed mating behavior since we moved to this house a year ago. She is not quite two yet and should just be starting that behavior in the last five months or so. Her behavior caused the other three emus to chase and fight with her. She retreated from the others and didn’t eat for weeks. We decided to divide the pasture, build on to the back of the shelter and make a space for Chica and one of the boys. She settled in well by herself, but there were catastrophes when we put either of the boys in with her. Since moving Stuart in with Chica when he became injured, none of the emus have been eating well and they have done more than the usual pacing. But, Stuart was in the pasture with Chica and it was working out. No chasing or fighting!
Yesterday morning I went in to feed them and Stuart ran right up to me. I thought it strange since he has been wary of me since his injury. I looked around and realized he was alone. Chica was gone! I finally found her about 2 acres away in the donkey pasture, luckily still on our property. I hurried back to the house to get Michael to help me get her back into the pasture where she belongs. The donkeys and emus get along well with a fence between them but not in the same pasture. Jack is too skittish and he could rear up and stomp her.
It was 7:00 a.m. and very cold. Michael grabbed some shorts, flip-flops and a ski parka, his usual cold weather gear. Michael grew up in Hawaii. I, of course, grabbed my camera and we went to herd her back to safety. I mostly shot video and guarded the gate. Michael used all his tricks to try to get her moving but she always takes her sweet time, grooming and preening along the way.
But this time, something was very different, and very disturbing. Female emus stick their chests out and raise their rear ends as a signal to the male that they are, well…let’s say “turned on.” Apparently Chica likes a guy in shorts, flip-flops, and a ratty ski parka.