So here is the tale of the Ostrich...Actually, I wish I had a really great story to tell you, one than involved say a saddle, or a rope, or an actual Ostrich fight (ostrich v human of course I wouldn't pit them against one another) but, this week was remarkably uneventful with this bird. And in the end, she was really kinda sweet, and cool, and not at all what I expected. Today was our physical exam examination, and I was remarkably comfortable with this giant bird alone in a closed room, with only a broom handle to protect me...ok let's start from the beginning.
We were to arrive last Tuesday, an assigned group of four, to the wildlife farm for Ostrich orientation. The first thing this kindly, and very knowledgeable 3rd year told us was this, "You can't outrun an ostrich, so don't even try. If they are after you either jump the fence ( 6 ft high) or get down on the ground. After all, they can disembowel you with one kick and it's better to be stomped than disemboweld." Ummm....ok I was not to sure how the rest of this was gonna go, I hate birds and now I was gonna have to either outrun one (probably not) or just take my last rights before I entered the pen each morning. In a somber mood, the 3rd year led us to the pen where our bird was housed..."But this bird," she said, "is a total anomaly, she is so sweet and would never hurt you." Just as she said that Zea, our ostrich, stuck her head through the fence and looked at us like "hey, new friends, cool!" I couldn't help but laugh.
We were taken into the exam room and given the basics of ostrich care, anatomy, clinical signs and normal ostrichism...and surprisingly I knew quite a bit. Things like the significance of a renal portal system, birds only have a left ovary, and not to wear jewelery as she will try to peck it off. On that note, though Zea is a nice bird, we were instructed to take a broom handle into her cage with us at all times. Mostly to give her a target to peck at as they are really curious birds, and somewhat for protection. I have had more than one dream this week of me in an epic battle with a crazy ostrich, armed only with this sawed off broom handle...each time I was victorious.
So, overall this rotation was kinda boring, in a sense of I have no epic tales to tell. I did learn a lot though:
1. Ostriches are what appear to be an odd mix of a snake and a bird-and they're kinda shifty eyed.
2. A broom handle is adequate protection from giant birds
3. Ostriches have claws
4. an ostrich will scratch it's head by putting it on the ground an stepping on it
5. though I did have fun, I do not want to be an ostrich vet...but if worse came to worse I could
So, here's the promised photos--along with a few of the resident deer who are so tame they come up to you and beg to be petted. Sooooo cool.