Considering a pet emu- tell me why it won't work....

Bantam Chase

8 Years
Jul 11, 2011
I found an emu breeder within a reasonable distance, and am seriously considering getting a chick to raise as a pet. I'm doing my homework but am seeing conflicting information from emu farms v. pet people, mainly in regards to housing and other animal interaction. So - here's my situation, tell me where you see red flags...

The bird will be about a week old, incubator raised when I get it. It'll be brooded in the house so will have lots of human interaction, plus will see the dogs/cats/etc. It'll be handled and taken places for exposure since one day - possibly - it could visit 4H petting zoos (that part is a grey area...).

Once big enough to move outside, I have a few options. We're outdoorsey people and are often tending the animals or working around the property, so it'd still get plenty of attention.

Our yard is about an acre and is fully fenced with 4' high, 4x4" woven wire except for a small section up front where it's 3' pickett. There's trees for shade and the underside of the deck for shelter. Ideally I'd like it to free range in the yard - where the border collies go potty and run. The breed of chickens that I have do not come back to the roost at night so are penned, but the ducks do occasionally get to wander about.

The dogs will be managed not to bother the emu, but not sure if the emu would bother the dogs if its raised with them. Also not sure if the fence height is an issue - will they jump just for the fun of it, or if scared? If scared, will they run until they feel safe or find a hiding space, or will they keep going for a mile? The yard is probably 200+' deep, 150' wide.

Option B is less attractive - I have two small paddocks for the goats, again with the 4' woven wire. Each paddock is about 30x50' with run in sheds/barns for shelter, but not nearly the room as the back yard... and obviously contain goats.

Diet/attention/deworming/vaccinations/etc I'm ok with, but its the housing (fence height and dogs) that I'm waffling about. Its supposed to be winter here in PA, and usually the weather stays pretty chilly until April - so the bird would be about 4 months old before it would really get to explore the yard.
correct. I know/know of several folks who have a single bird - I've read that keeping them singly is OK as long as they have enough interaction.
emus are solitary by nature but not....SOLITARY....if that makes sence. in nature yes they travel in groups but they are relatively loners. i know a few people who have ONE bird as a pet.However i feel that you should atleast have a pair that way there is MORE interaction than just you. I know many people will tell you they make GREAT pets....but I can name a few people who have had there pet emu get aggressive with them during breeding season ect. I raised my emus to be livestock they will come up to peck at my shoes ect but they dont let me pet them or anything like that. I did that for the soul reason like during breeding season i can shew them away from the eggs or if the male goes broody he will get up and walk away when i collect the eggs. But it can be a blessing and a curse like if i wanted to move my birds or lead them yea not happening at least not easily LOL. i recommend emus i really do i love my dinos! But they are NOT for everyone thats for sure! you will need 6 foot tall fence...preferably welded wire field fencing. I buy the 8 foot tall T posts from home depot slam them into the ground untill they are around 6 feet. for my LARGE pen i have 5 foot field fencing fence and ill be adding another layer to it to make it around 7 feet. then i am making another pen the same way except i am putting up 2 layers of four foot fencing to over lap each other to make 7 feet or so. but also a blessing to have is the 6 foot by 10 foot dog kennel panels there AMAZING! lol i use then to lead into the barn for there shelter. as for shelter you can get by with a three sided shelter or a barn or shed works great to! they can run up to 45 mph, kick like a horse.
Just don't underestimate the danger of an aggressive bird, those feet can disembowel. Do you have children? I wouldn't let them in with it during mating season (or to be honest any time)
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I don't think that would be a problem, Mother nature is a mother herself and so I'm sure she'd never allow it to be possible to cross emus and children because they'd be far far far too much trouble. Sure, keep kids behind a fence and maybe a chaperone during breeding season, though I believe Mother nature wouldn't allow toddlers who run away from you in the supermarket at 30 km per hour, it would not be fair. Or kids who can swallow the entire household's worth of cutlery when you turn your back to get them a drink. I think Mother nature has her limits to what mischief she'll allow.
I think mothers nature wouldn't give a dam if a kid got too close to one. it's something they need to be aware of though as they are talking about keeping it in their back yard not a seperate pen.
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