Forget dogs and cats, this family share their home with two emus!
31-year-old Alicia Speranza and her 11-year-old daughter Hayley live with their very unusual pets in Walworth, New York.
After bringing home Phoenix when he was just two weeks old, it soon became clear to Alicia that this little bundle of fluff needed a playmate.
She explains, ‘Phoenix hatched on May 9th 2016 from a single emu egg. We wanted a companion female emu for Phoenix, so we waited for a female to be listed. Stella hatched on June 12th 2016 on a small farm in upstate, NY. She was listed online and was a month old when we got her, July 10th 2016.’
The pair’s first meeting was a little awkward at first, as neither Phoenix nor Stella had ever seen another emu before – but it wasn’t long before they became firm friends!
Alicia says, ‘he had never seen another emu before so when he first saw Stella he was very excited! He affectionately pecked her head and seemed to “know” right away they were alike!’
‘As soon as Stella started to feel more comfortable she looked to him as the leader and began to follow him everywhere he went. This worked out perfectly because Phoenix had already imprinted on me as his “parent” so he followed me everywhere I went.’
‘Phoenix was already a month older than Stella, and since emus grow two inches per week, she was less than half his size.’
As the family live in a rural part of New York, these birds of a feather have all the space they could want to run around – and love playing with Alica’s daughter Hayley.
Alicia says, ‘Phoenix and Stella love when Hailey is around. She loves to jump and dance, and so do Phoenix and Stella!’
‘Hailey loves to get them in the mood to play by running up to them and doing silly things. They are so amazing to watch as they all run together. Hailey can’t get enough of them and she is so proud to have them as her pets.’
Although emus can’t fly, they can grow to over 6ft in height and weigh around 40kg, meaning they’re quite the handful when it comes to keeping them as pets!
But Alicia is adamant that she has her flock under control, saying, ‘like any animal, it begins with how they are raised. We have spent hours with them every day and they are so docile and tame. If they are not busy eating, swimming, and playing, they will ask for attention by approaching you and lightly pecking specs off your clothes and hair as a way of grooming.’
‘We noticed they will keep doing this until we start to hug and pet them, so we made the connection that they are asking for attention!’
It seems clear that whatever the weather, these birds of a feather stick together – check out the video above to see them in action.