If You Want To Know If The Drought Will Continue Watch How Emus Are Mating
Emu breeders are closely watching their love birds as mating season nears, knowing the more eggs laid can be linked to a good growing season for farmers.
Farmer Phil Henley filmed his female birds starting to give off mating signals at his property ‘Emu Logic’ near Coonabarabran in NSW.
“You can see her puff out her chest and strutting around, that’s the female showing off to the male,” Henley told 10 daily.
“They’ve got a sack at the bottom of their neck which they fill up with air and make that drumming noise from, and parade around at same time.”
With emu breeding season just beginning, many farmers will be closely monitoring the bird behaviour which is said to predict the weather. Where and how many eggs are laid over the coming weeks could be a sign of a good growing season for farmers or continued drought.
“There’s definitely a correlation but we haven’t worked it out yet,” Henley explained.
“We’ve kept records of their laying and we get very few eggs through the drought times but in a good season, they lay more and for longer.
It’s said when they lay in the gullies it's going to be a dry year but if it’s up in the ridges, it’s going to be a wet one.
There could also be a physiological reason for this for the varying egg numbers.
“They think the emu is a bit like a kangaroo. If emus think there’s a drought coming, they will absorb the egg back into their system knowing the chick won’t survive the drought anyway.
“They definitely can pick the seasons but we’re trying to work out how, then we’d be right!”
Emus will now be starting to pair off, with laying expected from around ANZAC Day.
“Males are the maternal ones that do all the incubation and rearing so the females are looking for a male who they want to look after the eggs they lay.
“The females have a very carefree life and will lay 10 or 12 eggs to one male and the same again to any other mates they find.”
The emu incubation is one of the longest for birds taking around 56 days to hatch.
Chicks are expected around mid-July, and hopefully a good farming season too.
Feature Image: Getty