It’s unfair to keep us EMU down. Why I say, why do they want to cage us? I found this cool article about emu birds.
Gardendale police officers captured this runaway emu, named Ellie Mae, last week. (Photo courtesy of Gardendale Police Department Facebook page)
MORRIS, Alabama – Did you hear the one about “The Beverly Hillbillies”-named emus?
In a sitcom-worthy turn of events, two emus were separated for 10 days after they escaped from a Morris residence and were on the run in north Jefferson County. The two lovebirds — Jethro and Ellie Mae — are now safe at home.
Ellie Mae made it five days before she was captured by the Gardendale Police Department last week. Jethro was finally spotted Monday.
According to their owner, Ellie Mae and Jethro’s adventure began Saturday, Jan. 19.
Steve Shaffield, 61, of Morris, said he bought the emus a while back to sell them. “I wanted to make a little bit of money,” he said. “Saturday, I was loading them up to take to auction and they got loose.”
Shaffield said the emus wouldn’t cooperate and once the large, flightless birds started running, they basically walked over the 6-foot-high fence by hooking their feet in it. He couldn’t keep up with them. Emus can run up to 30 miles per hour.
“They got a brain about the size of a pea, and one of them went west and the other one went east,” Shaffield said.
Shaffield asked around and searched, but found no sign of either emu. Then Shaffield was in a store and heard that the Gardendale Police Department had captured an emu and called to see if it belonged to anyone in the area. Shaffield said he knew from the story, it must have been the female emu.
“She’s real docile. You can go up to her and pet her and hold her by the neck. She’s just a real sweetheart. And the male’s totally opposite.”
Drew Alexander, with the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, helped capture the bird. Alexander said they give animals names for their system so he called her “Ellie Mae Emu.” Alexander took Ellie Mae to the Humane Society Rescue Barn in Mount Olive and fed her fresh veggies such as lettuce. Alexander said it’s not too difficult to care for emus, and they can eat just about anything. He said as far as he knows there are no special requirements for owning an emu.
Monday morning, Shaffield picked up Ellie Mae from the Humane Society barn. On his way home, he received a call from the Morris Police Department that her mate was spotted not too far from his house. Shaffield, who decided to call the male emu Jethro, drove out to the location.
“I opened the door and he saw his girlfriend and he started strutting around but he wasn’t stupid enough to get in the trailer,” Shaffield said.
Emus are known to mate for life, and Shaffield had a plan to get them both home. Shaffield lured Jethro back home by putting a lead line around Ellie Mae. “I walked her home and Jethro just moseyed along behind her,” Shaffield said.
Both emus are now safe in their pen.
“This morning I figured they wouldn’t have anything to do with me, but when I walked up to the fence they came over there just as forgiving and friendly as they could be,” Shaffield said. “They’re really kind of neat birds.”
Shaffield said he paid about $100 to get the emu from the humane society, and he still plans to sell the birds. He said he will probably take them to an exotic animal auction, and thinks he can get $40 for each bird. Emus are usually kept as livestock. According to the American Emu Association, the birds can be processed and provide meat. Also, the fat can be refined into oil used in cosmetic and health products and the leather is crafted into goods.
Shaffield expressed appreciation for those who helped return the emus and especially for the humane society.
“I was real pleased with the humane society. They were really nice and helpful. We just basically are animal lovers. We love all our animals. We got chickens, a couple goats, the biggest sheep you ever laid your eyes. We got a pot belly that’s getting overweight,” he said. “Chickens are my favorite.”
See the original post:Runaway emus — Jethro and Ellie Mae
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