Long-legged exotic Rhea bird goes on the run from Chesterfield farm
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The four-month-old rhea - a bushland long-legged animal similar to an ostrich native to South America - has been missing for five to six days from its Holymoorside home.
It disappeared at some point between December 22 and December 23 from an enclosure at Adam’s Happy Hens Farm Shop.
Owner Adam Higginbottom, 30, says the young, white, long-necked fowl - which stands at about three-and-a-half feet - was last seen on fields nearby on Boxing Day.
However another possible sighting of the bird was captured on CCTV in an Ashgate garden the day after the bird disappeared.
Dad-of-one Adam - who bought the bird along with two other chicks in August - says the rhea is one of seven at the farm.
While foxes are normally kept at bay by the more mature and larger birds which grow up to five feet, he is concerned that the smaller bird is more vulnerable on its own.
Adam said: “It’s been five days now - it’s anyone’s guess what’s happened. I don’t think they do well on their own - they like to be together and do get quite lonely.
“Foxes have had the opportunity for ages but when it’s on its own it gives a fox that opportunity.”
Adam, who started the farm shop seven years ago as an add-on to the family dairy farm, says the bird could now be anywhere.
In their native large South America the birds roam the open pampas and sparse woodlands of Argentina and Brazil for miles.
He said: “It will probably just wander around pecking at grass and other bits and bobs.
“It won’t do anybody any harm – because we’ve had the birds from chicks they’re very tame and can be stroked.
“But they’re very strong on their legs - I wouldn’t advise trying to grab it as they’re quite powerful and wriggly.”
Adam says the bird’s sex is not yet clear due to its young age and so has not yet been named.
He is asking anyone who spots the rhea to phone 07923 276372 or send a message to Adam’s Happy Hens Farm Shop Facebook page immediately.