But did you know that it is not Mummy Emu who takes care of all the little
chicks but, in fact, the Daddy Emu? Let me explain why...
The female emu can lay up to eleven eggs each breeding season. These
each weigh around 580g (approx. 19lb), so as you can imagine, she is rather
exhausted after the effort. Consequently she leaves the male emu to
recuperate and recover from the task and the male emu must look after the
eggs. It does not appear that she returns to the family.
Emu chicks hatch from the eggs about two months later. They are striped
in appearance, but as they grow older they lose these stripes.
For the next twelve to eighteen months the male emu herds his not-so-little
family (we've counted at least eight chicks in the families we have seen) giving
them the skills they need for independence. And while emus are largely
nomadic, during this time they do not roam quite as far. Some of the emu
families we saw last year are still around our area, though the emu chicks are
well and truly into adolescence!
Emu families help us understand a little bit more about how God cares for
families. While the ideal is that each family has a mummy and a daddy,
this is not always the case. And the good news is that God cares and provides
for all kinds of families - two parent families, single parent families, step
families and extended families.
In fact, Daddy Emu reminds me of the story of Joseph
and his father, Jacob. (Maybe it's the emu chick's striped coats... !) Jacob
was (sort of!) a single dad, left to raise his sons, Joseph and Benjamin,
without their mother, Rachel. It is obvious by his gift of the colourful
coat, that he deeply loved Joseph and cared for him.
You may not see emus quite as often as we do, but if you do see one (you
never know what you may find next time you go to the zoo!), remember Daddy Emu
and more importantly, a Heavenly Father that cares for you.