Have you ever seen two nearly six-foot birds having sexual intercourse?
This past week the farm morphed from a platonic PG rated place of miscellaneous poultry and a pig to a palace of porn.
Here is what I saw: Upon entering the pasture to feed Miss Hibbitz and the Emus, I observed one of the Emus walk over to a far gate and calmly lay down. I then watched as the second Emu calmly sauntered up behind the first one and began lowering its moppy body down as well. A strange place for a nap, I thought. Then, with complete disregard for my presence, the second Emu began thrusting and pumping in a physical expression of pure lust. The first Emu appeared to find it equally delightful. Upon completion, perhaps a full minute later, both Emus returned to a standing position and, with slightly dazed expressions, paced off a bit to let their feathers dry.
I then tried to discipher which Emu was which in order to confirm my long-standing record of misnaming animals by gender. It became clear that I had done it again: Shirley Emu was a dude and Squiggy was a lady.
(Shirley Emu has been renamed Shirley Jackson with the goal of slowing rubbing all of the extra letters away to leave simply: Jacks. Squiggy is a name that can definitely bend in either direction.)
After my catcalls across the field to them died away, I fed everyone and took a walk around the field to see if Squiggy was laying any eggs yet. Last year we began finding the greenish blue giant Emu eggs, although the birds were only a year and a half old then. What we didn’t know is if one or both were laying, nor if they were fertilized. The peep show I had just witnessed made these gorgeous eggs even more interesting. Having finally realized that Emus are excellent security guards for the hen house, we hoped to be able to incubate some of the eggs to hatch another pair of Emu who could live out with the chickens.
(Squiggy and S. Jackson are deeply committed to their current pasture. After the barn burned down, we arrived at the barn on several occasions to find both Emus had somehow gotten out of their temporary pasture and were back in the yard they were raised in. Once I came to the farm to do the chores and found the builders working on the new barn while both Emus strolled contentedly amongst them under the new construction. Nobody thought it interesting enough to call us, which is fascinating to me.)
Happily, I found S. Jackson hovering over two lovely eggs. In the Emu family, the male sits on the eggs and tends to the young, often not eating for the duration. I’m not sure what this says about our guy’s character, but he obviously gets up to get it up and I’ve seen him eating with gusto all week. I also found another egg around the corner, which I purloined for a gift.
What I forgot about is how much Miss Hibbitz enjoys Emu eggs. The first time I found an egg I was walking with Hibby and we both saw it. I figured out what it was three seconds after my smart sow and two seconds before I saw the giant yolk flow out of it. She’s been an addict ever since and never thought to consider the joy of fatherhood that Jackson was hoping to experience. I received an outraged text from Michael two days after the sex scene regarding Hibby’s selfish (pig) behavior (she ate all of the eggs) and news that she had been banished to a different pasture.
Emus lay between 20 – 40 eggs a year in late fall, early winter, so we have plenty of time to incubate more. A slight problem is that Emus hatch in as little as eight weeks, which would mean that we would have baby Emus in frozen February. And we need to build an incubator, since Jacks seems to be a bit of a dead-beat.
Also seen on the farm, aside from the usual rooster rapes, is one of our Tom Naragansetts looking all droopy-eyed and romeoesque as he lowered his body repeatedly over a half deflated basketball. But let’s talk turkey later.