When an ice storm knocked out the power at a woman's home and exotic animal farm, she made herself a human incubator and spent three days lying on a couch with 15 live eggs stuffed in her clothes.
Claire Luteyn and her husband, Donald, devised the plan to save 15 emu eggs they hoped would hatch in to emu chicks, which are worth $1,000 to $1,500 each.Emus are Australian relatives of the ostrich.
Fifteen of the forest-green eggs were in the Luteyns' incubator when a March 3 storm knocked out the power to their home and more than 300,000 others.
The emu eggs, which require a temperature of 97 degrees and a humidity of 84 percent, seemed doomed, but the Luteyns improvised quickly.
Luteyn dressed in a nightgown, put the eggs on her chest and stomach, then put on a warm jumpsuit to cover them. She spent three days on the couch, seldom straying from her roost.
The baseball-sized eggs weighed about 11/2 pounds each and had to be turned every 21/2 hours.
So far, nine of the 15 eggs have hatched. Luteyn said she will know within two weeks whether the other six will hatch. They will be sold when they are about 5 weeks old.
The Luteyns have raised exotic birds and animals at their western New York farm for about five years. Their collection includes four adult emus, llamas, miniature donkeys and a miniature dachshund.