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Ontario farm with angry emu goes viral on TikTok with nearly 5M followers

This is Karen the emu. (uselessfarm/Instagram).
This is Karen the emu. (uselessfarm/Instagram).
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Amanda's farm has absolutely no useful animals.

Located just north of Kingston, Ont., the farm is home to a plethora of “useless” animals, as she calls them, and has gained a following of millions on social media.

“I think of it sort of as a retirement home for animals who people are done with,” Amanda, who asked CTV News Toronto to omit her surname, said in an interview Tuesday.

“We aren't a sanctuary or a rescue or anything like that — this is just our life.”

The Useless Farm has over 4 million followers and 120 million likes on TikTok, and nearly 500,000 followers on Instagram.

Amanda said she started the account just to share “the daily craziness” of running a hobby farm, but that it soon took off to new heights.

One of the many characters in Amanda’s roster of animals, Karen, a nearly seven-foot tall adult emu, has become particularly infamous online for her "sassiness" and consistent attempts to charge Amanda.

“[She] hates me with every fibre of her being,” Amanda said. “She takes her job of stomping out my life very seriously," adding that it's not uncommon for female emus to show aggression.

While Amanda often deflects Karen’s advances, she said she isn’t always so lucky. 

“She’s definitely laid the boots on me more than once — I’ve gotten bruises for sure,” she said.

Yet, the duo’s fan base continues to grow and despite Karen’s attitude, Amanda says she’s never once considered rehoming her.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “Karen is my soul sister,” adding that she isn't sure anyone else could handle the sass.

Much to Amanda's disappointment, Karen doesn't show such distain for everybody, she said. "She's in love with my husband."

Karen's coming up on her fifth year at the farm, after living a life in zoos, and Amanda said she's loved every minute of it.

"Who doesn't want to see an emu interpretive dance?"

@useless_farm

👑Interpretive dance king 👑

♬ Canned Heat - Jamiroquai

Karen might be the star of the Useless Farm TikTok account, but she isn’t the sole star of the farm.

In addition to Karen, recurring characters include Michael, an alpaca who Amanda describes as “not having a single thought in his brain,” Doug the mini donkey whose “love language is attention,” and Brad the silkie rooster who shares Karen’s affinity for violence, among others. Brad was Amanda's first "useless" animal, followed by Karen, and then Doug, who was originally acquired as a companion for the emu. 

"Karen has a bit of a warm spot for Doug."

The eclectic grouping of animals keeps Amanda entertained daily and it’s that entertainment that prompted her to put her farm on social media.

“There's so much nonsense and so much fun stuff that happens every day that has me in stitches all the time and I just really wanted to share that with everybody else,” she said.

@useless_farm

✨good morning everyone except Brad✨

♬ original sound - Useless Farm

What started as a way to connect with her family and friends while sharing silly videos almost four years ago has turned into a viral sensation.

“It makes me feel nice that people are enjoying all the nonsense,” she said.

Now, she’s just trying to balance running a full-time viral social media presence and working her full-time job, while maintaining the farm and caring for her two children.

When asked how she handles it all, Amanda said she gets “a solid 46 minutes of sleep every night.”

“It's a lot of work, but you have to make everything you do fun, right? I'm so thankful for all that I have.” 

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