Big Green Eggs

IMG_2483High Fives go to our flightless Emu friends, Squiggy and Jax, for successfully hatching out two beautiful baby Emu chicks in March.  In December we began squirreling away their gorgeous eggs in an incubator we kept in the house, but when Jax, the male, began finally sitting on Squiggy’s eggs in January, we let him take over.  One of the ten eggs we had inside attempted to hatch but sadly failed.  In late February Jax stood up to show me that one of his five eggs had broken and he let me remove a fully formed dead chick.

Despondent, I waited another two weeks before finally deciding that I needed to remove the eggs from under Jax.  The male Emu sits on the eggs, not eating, for an incubation term of approximately 50 days and I hated to see him waste away pointlessly.

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Jax kept his Emu chicks warm under his feathers and hidden from view.

I knelt down and slid my hand under his hot underside to pull out an egg.  Jax looked annoyed.  I dove in and extracted another egg.  When I went for the third egg my hand stumbled across a warm little feathery bundle and while my mind processed what I was feeling, Jax partially rose to expose both his hostility for my stupidity and the most adorable and miraculous live baby Emu chick.  I was able to snap some quick pictures while he contemptuously used his long neck and beak to roll the eggs back under him.

Because I seem quite incapable of optimism, the following week I resolved that I must remove the remaining three eggs.  That same day I discovered a second glorious chick nestled into Jax’s feathers.  (The final two eggs were duds, so the cup really was half empty.)

Both chicks have now joined Jax and Squiggy in their tireless march along the fence lines of the pastures in search of predators and treats.

 

The baby Emus are perfect miniatures of their parents except that they are vastly more attractive.  Young Emus are crisp and dapper with spotted heads and black and cream striped bodies and grow into their dust mop of feathers as they mature.

 

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