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The Team

O.M.G I have never seen anything like that in my life!” said one of the girls in the office, echoed by “Wow, that’s amazing, let me look again!

Our Visitors

I was taking my 3 year old around on the go-karts when I saw the Rhea circling another Rhea on the floor. I assumed the one lying down was unwell, so we stopped for a few minutes to observe. Interestingly, the Rhea that was lying down appeared to be aggressively pecking at the circling Rhea, so I assumed it was defending itself. I then noted the standing Rhea to be adjusting and “puckering” before I saw a flash of yellow. I then got my phone to record.

Rhea laid her eggs!

Imagine a soon-to-be mummy bird who randomly decides to lay her precious eggs, which are the size of 10 to 12 chicken eggs, with a carefree attitude, she abandons them in the grass, absolving herself of all motherhood responsibilities. Rest assured female Rheas are known to be non-maternal. When annual pass holders Mike, and his son Liam, captured the moment on video at Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park, the team was super excited. Zena, the former Animal Barn Supervisor and now Shop Team Assistant, asked Mike if he would send the video to share with the team.


In the life of a Rhea, it’s the male’s (dad’s) job to collect the eggs and roll them under him, in the nest he made, for safekeeping. This is where he will sit tight and start incubating them. He has exclusive paternal care, from the incubation to when the eggs hatch, resonating with the role of a single dad. Only time will tell if they were fertilized.


Giving birth to a baby, or even an egg, is a tremendous family moment to be treasured forever. Imagine how surprised and fortunate we felt when Mike and his family caught this special natural behaviour on camera. Not only Mrs. Bubba laying the egg but the important role of dad, Mr. Rayas, natural behaviour of tucking it into the nest, a shallow dusty hole in the ground, usually lined with grass or leaves.


The team watched the video with great excitement as, working on the farm daily, they understood the rarity of being there, at that exact moment, with a camera at the ready. This is a first-time film for Farmer Palmer’s. 

When the males sit on their nest, they can feel protective and defensive, therefore they keep females and people away. So, the team is respecting his space by keeping distance whilst making sure the Rhea’s are looked after.


History: 13 years ago, Bubba was raised from an egg that was gifted to team member Zena, by someone who thought they could incubate them. They soon realised they had taken on more than they could chew.


As the eggs didn’t fit into the incubator, Zena took them home and popped them into the airing cupboard. She rocked them 3 times a day to keep them growing. One day, she shone a torch to see if they were fertile, and one of them was! The incubator took over the rocking of Bubba, humidity was raised, and between 36-44 days later, the pipping started and Bubba needed help to get her out of the shell. This was an incredible moment as she unfurled from the egg.


Mrs Bubba grew up with small dogs so was imprinted and thought she was a dog. Not that this has impacted on natural behaviour because she came to Farmer Palmers Farm Park, at 6 weeks old and has been a huge star ever since.


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