Local farm searches for runaway emu

Maryland

"It's funny, you know, that it's not your normal thing to see," says farm owner Karin Walden.

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Just inside the front pen of the Walden Line Farm lies the scene of the breakout.

“It was right here,” says Karin Walden pointing to a white fence lined with chicken wire. “I intertwined it again, but Emmy broke through it again.”

It’s been about a month since owner Walden’s pet emu, Emmy, escaped the enclosure she’d shared with three other emus since they were all chicks.

“Emus have always struck me as some unique animals that I love,” Walden explained. 

She and her family have lived on the farm for the last 17 years. Goats, miniature ponies, and horses roam the Frederick property.

“It’s just a pure love of animals. If you have a farm, you have to love doing it,” Walden said, “rain or shine.

Walden says she completed a degree in animal science, and when it came to the idea of raising emu chicks, she did additional research. She acquired four chicks and raised them for the past two years.

“Looking back at that and getting chicks, a wonderful experience, maybe I didn’t think it through to when they became five, six feet high, and sexually mature,” Walden explained. “What am I going to do then?”

At the end of August, Walden had re-homed two of the emus, leaving two others including Emmy still on the farm. 

One day she got a call from a neighbor spotting Emmy outside the pen.

“She went behind my house, behind my neighbors, and I couldn’t find her after that. And then I had sightings,” said Walden. 

After posting “missing” flyers around the area, several neighbors have joined the search effort. Walden says she regularly receives texts or phone calls from local residents, some even spotting Emmy and sharing a video of her travels.

“It’s funny, you know, that it’s not your normal thing to see. The neighborhood is being very willing to help, it’s wonderful,” Walden said. 

Jumping in the car to search again on Friday morning, Walden spotted Emmy in the cornfield of a neighboring farm. She plans to come back, with the help of the farm owner, in another attempt to capture Emmy.

“I worry about her getting hit by a car or dogs or coyotes or now that it’s approaching hunting season, they’re going to mistake her for a turkey. I just worry about that and I certainly don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Walden said. 

Grateful for the local support, Walden warns neighbors not to approach the emu as the bird can become aggressive if it hints provocation. 

When Emmy is safely captured, Walden hopes to re-home her to a local zoo. 

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