The reumda, seeing this operation going forward, becomes terrified, and runs off to join her mate; but he does not believe there is any ground for her terror, and with somewhat ungallant chastisement, forces her to return. If these preparations were made while the delim was sitting, he would go after her, and neither would return.
If the Arabs desire to make a prey of the ral, as the young ostriches are called, they follow their footmarks, and having nearly overtaken them, they begin to shout; the terrified birds run to their parents, who face about, and stand still to fight for them; so the Arabs lead away the ral before their eyes, in spite of the bravadoes of the delim, who then manifests the liveliest grief.
When the laying is finished, the eggs are pushed towards the centre, but not mixed; and when the eldest delim begins to sit, all the rest take their places where their eggs have been laid, the females observing similar order. These associations are found only where the herbage is very plentiful, and they are understood always to be family groups, the centre couple being the parents of the rest.
The reumda having resumed her place, the sportsmen take care not to disturb her; it is the rule to shoot the delim first, and they patiently wait his return from the pasture. At noon, he takes his place as usual, sitting with his wings outspread, so as to cover all the eggs.
The reumda, on the contrary, is easily terrified, and leaves all to secure her own safety; so that it is usual to compare a man who bravely defends his tent to a delim, and a pusillanimous soul to a reumda. The delim finds himself more than a match for the dog, the jackal, the hyæna, or the eagle: man is his only invincible foe; yet he dares to wage the unequal war when the young are in danger.
The young ones, having received this their first nourishment, are immediately dried in the sun, and begin to run about; in a few days they follow the parent-birds to the pastures, always returning to shelter under their wings in the nest. The paternal affection of the delim is remarkable: he never leaves his offspring; he faces every danger, and combats every foe in their defence.
This serves as the first food of the nestlings; and for this purpose, though open, it continues long without spoiling, which is the more necessary, as the delim does not break all the eggs on the same day, but only three or four, and so on, as he hears the young ones stirring within.
Sometimes the greyhound is employed in this sport: the delim attacks him, and while they are fighting, the men carry off the young ones, to bring them up in their tents. The ral are easily tamed; they sleep under the tent, are exceedingly lively, and play with the children and dogs.
They hide the carcass, and cover with sand every trace of the blood that has been shed. When the reumda comes home at night, she appears not uneasy at the absence of her mate, but probably concluding that he was hungry, and has gone for some supper, she takes his place on the eggs, and is killed by the second marksman in the same way as the delim.
When the delim perceives that the moment of hatching has arrived, he breaks the egg which he judges most matured, and at the same time he bores with great care a small hole in the surmounting egg.