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Couple seeks owner of fowl trespasser

July 16, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

Living in the country, one can expect an occasional critter wandering through the yard, but an emu?

Norma Sprecher said she first spotted the large ostrich-like bird at her home at 9911 White Hall Road on July 6 and made several efforts to find out where the animal belonged.

"That first time I went to one place on Beaver Creek Church Road and left a note but no one got back to me," Sprecher said.

Then Monday, the emu was back. It appeared out of a cornfield and proceeded to roam around the yard most of the day.

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"I think it may be looking for water," Sprecher said. Her main concern was that the 4-foot bird might get hit by a passing vehicle or confront children in the area.

Sprecher said her son raises the birds at his home in South Carolina.

According to the American Emu Association, the birds grow to a height of 5 to 51/2 feet and weigh up to 140 pounds.

The most important product it produces is an oil that comes from the layer of fat that runs down the bird's backbone. When the emu is processed, the fat is removed and rendered into an oil that has antibacterial and moisturizing properties.

The emu, which is in the same family as the ostrich, has very lean red meat that looks and tastes like beef but has the same fat and cholesterol content as chicken or turkey.

The emu's laying season is November through April, and they can produce 30 to 60 eggs.

Anyone missing an emu is asked to contact Sprecher at 301-797-8609.

- Marlo Barnhart

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