The owners of The Dutchman's Cheese Farm in Economy, N.S., are without emus on their property for the first time in 25 years because of Fiona.
This weekend's storm damaged the emu enclosure on the Colchester County farm, causing the death of one of their four emus.
Three other emus escaped the enclosure and are missing, according to co-owner Maja van den Hoek.
The area where the birds stay at night was not damaged, van den Hoek said. But a large, enclosed wooded area that allowed the birds to roam was totally destroyed by falling trees.
According to van den Hoek, her husband, Willem, loves animals and decided to make the "back 40 into a park."
Aside from the emus, the farm is also home to pigs, swans, ducks, geese, chickens, miniature donkeys and goats.
Visitors to the cheese store pay a small fee for admission to the farm.
Van den Hoek said they brought five chicks to the farm 25 years ago and raised them to adulthood. One of the emus died of old age, leaving them with the four elderly birds.
She said they were a part of the family after all that time, although they were never given names.
The birds can live for up to 30 years in captivity, she said.
Escaped emus may be alive
The escaped emus may be alive, but van den Hoek isn't holding out much hope for their return.
"I don't think they'll ever catch them though, if they are," she said.
"There's such a mess. There's still big spruce trees flipped over. I don't know what we're going to find when the area gets cleared."
She said the emus were popular with visitors and would make a friendly rumble sound and let people pet them.
"It will be very hard to replace them," van den Hoek said, noting she wouldn't even know where to locate new chicks.
Although some kids found the birds a little scary, van den Hoek said the escaped birds are no threat if they are alive.
Despite the loss and damage to the trees on the property, the farm has already reopened to members of the public, van den Hoek said.
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