The Ostrich and her Mistress I was listening to RT�’s wildlife programme on Saturday. They were talking about animal myths and the idea of the ostrich sticking its head in the sand which is apparently a myth. While discussing the ostrich one of the contributors explained that the male ostrich often has a mistress as well as a wife. A brooding hen as well as a non-brooding hen. The non-brooding hen lays her eggs in the same nest as the brooding hen. The brooding hen kicks the mistress’ eggs to the very edge where they are cooler and in danger from predators. Naturalists do not know how on earth the brooding hen knows the difference between her own eggs and the eggs of her rival. There are no markings or smells or tastes to indicate which eggs are hers and which are her mistress’.

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