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Broody emu is simply the nest

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By Abbey Morton
Broody emu is simply the nest

A HORMONAL emu at Mossburn Community Farm is being helped to get over his non-stop broodiness.

Jim, one half of the Hightae rescue farm’s emu couple, has taken to sitting on an invisible egg (or two) for weeks on end.

And the unusual behaviour is having a negative impact on his health as he puts all his energies into hatching a non-existent chick, and irritates his unsympathetic partner Rosie.

In nature, male emus normally sit on eggs for around eight weeks, and during that time do not move, eat or drink and, as a result, lose weight.

A farm spokeswoman said: “Since there’s actually at least one egg there in the first place, once the chicks hatch the emu will stop sitting. As Jim’s eggs do not exist, nothing ever hatches so Jim sits, and he sits, and he sits . . .

“As he gets increasingly thinner, we get increasingly concerned that he’s superglued to the spot, and the other main issue is that his rather unsympathetic partner Rosie gets increasingly irritated with him.

“She pecks his head, but he just sits there and lets her and if he sits for long enough, when he does get up she can be very aggressive towards him for a good few weeks before they decide to give things another go.”

Rosie has not laid an egg in well over a decade, but this has gone unnoticed by Jim as he attempts to hatch an invisible egg.

His broodiness started earlier each year and he drops weight more dramatically in the cold weather when he is using energy to keep himself warm.

Treatments so far have included: steroid injections, phantom preg- nancy drops, a stern talking to, blocking him out of the shed/nest, distraction in the form of a pad- dling pool, mirror and mop/fake emu supplied by an increasinglyfrustrated vet and tube feeding as a last resort.

They have ruled out castration, as it would be too stressful for all involved, or removing his nest and blocking him out the shed on account of the weather and giving himafakeeggtositon-ashehas previously sat on a feed bucket for weeks in a bid to hatch it.

One treatment which has worked has been a hormonal implant, but its effects were not as long lasting as hoped.

They now hope to try the implant more frequently throughout the year, but this comes with a pricetag, on top of all the other expenses faced by the community farm.

Anyone wishing to support the cause should contact Juanita Wilson at Mossburn on 01387 811288.

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