PETALING JAYA: Chickaboo, the runaway ostrich, has a Husky and turkeys as friends and is quite the celebrity in the Klang Valley, says her owner.
Darren Chow, 44, has been working with animals for over 20 years and had raised Chickaboo since she was a chick.
The six-month-old ostrich is a familiar face at schools and local events in the Klang Valley.
"She was at the KL Picnic Festival at Desa ParkCity just last month.
She is always out in public and people recognise her. She's been to many events," said Chow when contacted by The Star Thursday.
According to Chow, Chickaboo also made appearances at KL Kids Carnival, Pets Fiesta and several school events.
Chow said he conducts animal education programmes that allow children to interact with tame animals.
"We bring tame and friendly animals like turkeys, roosters, ostrich, ducks, lizards and frogs to show kids what animals look and feel like. We also teach them not to be cruel to animals," he said.
Chow said that Chickaboo is "very affectionate" and would follow him around everywhere.
"She is extremely curious, very greedy, and is hungry all the time," said Chow.
"She gets along well with my Husky. She will sleep with my Husky and hangs around with a couple of turkeys and dogs.
"But she has built a really close relationship with my Husky," he added.
Chow said he was on his way to return Chickaboo to the farm he bought her from when she made her great escape.
He said that she was getting bigger and needed more space to run around, adding that neighbours were not supportive of him keeping an ostrich as a pet.
"We agreed to donate her back to the farm when she got too big, with the condition that she won't be exploited for leather or meat.
"We will miss her and we will definitely visit her," he added.
Chow said that Chickaboo escaped from the open window of his Toyota Hilux during the journey to the farm, Ostrich Wonderlands in Semenyih.
"It was an embarrassing incident.
"She normally sits quietly in the Hilux, she has never attempted to jump out before. But this time, she jumped out of the window and ran," he said.
Thankfully, Good Samaritans helped to guide Chickaboo to the highway divider to prevent her from running into oncoming traffic.
They managed to help Chickaboo into the car and transported her back home.
"She certainly had a long exercise," Chow said with a laugh, adding that he was thankful for everyone's help in securing Chickaboo.
"She is completely fine now. She is drinking and her bowel movement is good, so that means that she's physiologically well and that she's not in shock," he said.
According to Chow, Chickaboo would be making her way back to Ostrich Wonderlands tonight.
The owner of Ostrich Wonderlands Casey Teh, confirmed that Chow had bought Chickaboo from him "months ago".
"The ostrich started to grow big, so Chow was not comfortable caring for it. That was why he wanted to donate the ostrich back to me so that my workers can take care of it," said Teh.
Teh said that he cares for over a hundred ostriches and other birds, and assured that Chickaboo would not be slaughtered for meat.
"My farm is open to the public. Families and students can come to visit to learn about ostriches and other birds," he added.