Friday 13th March 2020
Things are hotting up on the rhea front - we have definite flirting, preening, chasing, posturing, checking out the straw filled field shelter. There may even have been some mating as one of the greys was rather muddy looking at the start of the week... our worry though is that we have a bigger male/ female ratio than we need. We have known for some time now that we have 2 of each in the greys but the whites have been keeping us guessing. Our thinking for some time has been 3 to 1 in favour of the males - not ideal. In the last week the largest white has been chasing the smaller (and least dominant) of the two male greys, suggesting a bit of a battle for second place in the pecking order.
When rhea start breeding, the dominant male builds the nest and mates with the females and then gets them to lay in 'his' nest. When he is happy with the number of eggs, he starts to sit, leaving male number two to then encourage the females to start laying in 'his' nest. Females only lay around 30 eggs so it can be that 2 females are enough for 2 males.
We are carefully monitoring what is going on and may end up needing to separate and/or sell surplus males....