An emu ranch closed down and one emu escaped. He made his way to the neighbor’s house on a lake and lived there for a few months. Then the HOA told them they could not have an emu and had to get rid of it.
December 15th they called me. I only handle wildlife so I contacted Gentle Barn, Animal Acres but no response. Frank Allen of Animal Acres did give me some emu handling tips. I decided to place ads for him on Petfinder, AdoptAPet, Craigslist and Facebook. I offered to transport if someone would adopt him for free. December 16th a few people responded to the ad. I chose the person who already had a female emu and emu experience. Thanks to everyone else who offered him a home.
I’d assumed that I could get the emu to sit in a large crate in my PT Cruiser (don’t laugh). Seems you must transport them in a trailer or truck with sides and top. I called all over to rent a horse trailer but couldn’t find anyone with a small horse trailer. The adopters then said that they will transport him in their truck. We agreed to transport him December 19 meeting at a truck stop in Barstow at 1 p.m.
Morning of December 19 was of course a huge rain storm. I left at 9:15 a.m. to get there by 1. Thank god I did. I had my wipers on high almost the entire way. My car hydroplaned quite a few times. I could only drive in the middle lane of the 10 freeway because the side lanes were flooded. As I approached the 60 a police car slowed traffic and closed that freeway completely because of accidents.
I continued on in the heavy rain. Even with the wipers on high I could barely see. I was white knuckling my steering wheel while leaning forward and opening my eyes as wide as possible to try to see better. It didn’t help. I just ended up with dry eyes and a neck ache.
When I got to the 15 there were multiple car collisions littered on both side of the highway. I must have seen at least 50 tow trucks that day. There were 4×4, SUV and trucks in those accidents. I was driving a PT Cruiser with a lowered sport package and racing wheels, not what you want to drive in a rain storm.
By the time I neared Barstow the rain stopped and a rainbow appeared. I was so glad we would be loading the emu in dry weather. I pulled into the truck stop where we were supposed to meet at 12:30. I called everyone. They would all be late because of the weather.
The adopters truck wouldn’t start that morning so they had to jerry rig someone else’s truck with a gate, sides and a roof. The people who owned the house where the emu was staying arrived at 1:30. We had fun chatting and joking around until 3:30 when the adopters showed up. By then it was sprinkling and windy. We drove to pick up the emu as a motorcade.
As soon as we arrived at their house the emu came towards us to say “hello.” The adopter went up and hugged the emu. Now we weren’t quite sure the emu was a male or female as none of us are emu experts. I think the emu smelled the female emu on the adopters shirt because he soon showed us he was definitely a male. He tried to make some moves on the adopter.
Now to try to get the emu in the truck. We had no ramp so we’d have to lift him into the truck. Mind you he’s 6′ tall and weighs 150 lbs. Emus also have sharp claws on their feet. In fact a few weeks earlier a six foot side winder bit the emu on the leg. Then the emu killed it with his feet. His leg swelled a little and he was under the weather for half a day but he was fine. The vet they called said emus aren’t too badly affected by venomous snake bites.
They also have sharp scales on their legs which they can open at will and cut you like multiple knives. We decided to wrap his legs in a towel I’d brought then lift him into the truck. The adopter, his daughter and I lifted him into the truck sideways. Unfortunately the towel didn’t cover all of his legs and the scales really cut the adopter’s thumb. There was blood all over his bumper. He wrapped his thumb and applied pressure but it kept bleeding.
After securing the emu in the truck with all the gates it was time to go to his new home. The old owner gave us some cookies and cake for the road. The first few miles the emu was sticking his head out, slipping, butt in the air, feet in the air, feathers in the air. He finally calmed down when we hit the freeway. Then it started to rain, and rain, and rain.
We took the 15 freeway south but then had to take a two lane highway all the way to Canyon Country. There was a lot of mud, some rocks and tons of water. Every time we’d hit a dip we’d get sprayed with muddy water from the other cars. One time a semi-truck hit a flooded muddy dip and literally sprayed a tsunami of solid mud over both the truck and my car. Even with my wipers on high it took six wipes to get the mud off so I could just barely see. I was going 50 at the time, driving blind.
We finally made it to the 14 and could see a ton of flashing lights ahead across the entire freeway. The police shut down the 14 freeway and rerouted us because of yet another multiple car collision. A few miles later we were finally able to get on the 14 with no traffic. After another half an hour or so we were at the emu’s new home. Fortunately the rain trickled down to a light shower.
The emu’s new home is a ranch mansion! As soon as we pulled into the automatic gates the female emu came up to us. She was making her sex calls and getting in the position. She let us pet her.
By now her new friend was really motion sick. He was just sitting in the truck with a green look on his face. We had to help him out of the truck. Then he took a big dump then stumbled away. The new adopter went up to him and held him steady while he walked. It really looked like someone walking a drunk out of a bar. They walked around a bit then took him to see the female. Even though he was in the mood when we left he was too motion sick to even say “hello” to her. They did do a group hug at least. He finally sat down for 20 minutes or so. The female came over and checked him out.
His new owner was giving me some produce from his other truck for my animals. I was filling up my bags with produce when the male emu came to investigate. He had to look in the bags. I was so glad he was feeling better. We then said our goodbyes and I drove home. I drove over 300 miles that day because of the closed freeways.
Unfortunately when I got home my office was flooded. I guess it rained hard here at home as well. The roof leaked at the sky light right on top of my desk. The only leak in the house would be on top of my iMac, laptop, camera chargers, wireless network. I took apart my laptop and chargers to dry. The laptop is working, will have to take the iMac to the shop.