Electric "Invisible Fence" collar designed for emu? Emu owners, what do you think?

Ebarnes-21

Songster
5 Years
Oct 20, 2015
165
136
151
New Zealand
Question for those who have a few Emu friends already, relating to how an Emu Psyche works.

Please read properly before reacting, I am NOT envisaging bringing adult emus home, strapping electric dog collars on them and letting them go with next to no fencing! Obviously that would be dumb, irresponsible, cruel and doomed to failure.

My fence is 6' high deer fencing, not made of woven wire but of high tensile wire 6" apart, with full height wooden battens every 3' of fence.
My concern is in Emu getting necks or legs through it and hurting themselves. So I would prefer they not spend too much time in physical contact with the fence.

My thought was, to train hand raised chicks from a young age, properly introduced to the collar's warning systems etc on a lead before they ever are allowed off the lead in the pasture.

The collar has the beep/buzz/vibrate/mild shock/increasing intensity (to a point) cycle, with the timing and current specially calibrated for the kindest effectiveness and safety of emu. This is a custom made electronic device, not just a dog product, I make this sort of thing all the time with Arduino, they have been used (with appropriate adjustments) for everything from goats to chickens.

I gather that an ordinary electric fence does not work on Emu because A) their feathers are great insulators, and B) they only have two legs and not great ground contact. The collar has no such issues, being a)directly applied, and only a local area of shock between two points, not right through the bird to the ground, making it safer and kinder too, and of course the 'patient' must be properly educated to know what to expect and how to respond.

So my question to those who have Emu friends already and know their nature well, could such a device work as a reinforcement for the boundary, to keep them from sticking limbs through the fence? Do you think an Emu properly and responsibly trained to that system would respond to it? Does an Emu think that way?
 

briefvisit

Songster
7 Years
Nov 9, 2013
1,067
1,081
246
' properly and responsibly trained'

My position is unique (and sigh: I'm the only one of the old timers left) because my birds are not constrained -- tame-wild. So I have had time to watch them solving puzzles, and to think about their intelligence, in a different environment.

So, wow . . . you do realise it will be a task worthy of a Ph. D.? What I have figured out is that, apart from any other mental faculties emus may or may not have, they hold fabulous knowledge of territory in their minds. But in respect of constraint -- getting their silly selves trapped in corners etc. -- they have very low panic levels. So it will be interesting to see if they can 'sort out' cumulative experience, and reach a conclusion.
It's tragic that someone like the Sheriff is not here to help. E.S. might have some ideas. S/he is v. knowledgeable about captive emoooz.

Here is Eric and a clutch of nine chicks, on plum patrol last summer. The chicks learned to come through the car port -- the fence you can see is not part of a pen, just a 'left over' bit -- because Eric comes through the car port.
 

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Ebarnes-21

Songster
5 Years
Oct 20, 2015
165
136
151
New Zealand
Ah ... so training to something that complex could be difficult ... even very difficult Lol. But maybe not impossible if they are good at learning their territory.

It wouldn't be the first Ph.D level task I've undertaken cold turkey so to speak ... I know emus have been clicker trained which is requiring a similar logic. I should be able to tell reasonably early whether they will learn it.

But I will have to ensure there is no situation that could cause blind panic in such a corner ... I'm familiar with animals who tend to go into a mindless mode when scared, flee blindly and get themselves hurt leading to still more escalation ... think taming wild horses and raising wild pheasant chicks for a start. (opposite ends of the spectrum for intelligence, but equally nervous). No surprise an Emu is a similar way ... they are very close to a wild bird genetically, domestication hasn't had a chance to dull their natural instincts yet.

How dangerous do you think my 6' high tensile wire/wooden batten fence would be?
 

briefvisit

Songster
7 Years
Nov 9, 2013
1,067
1,081
246
I'd love to read the paper on clicker training an emooo.

And your fence, Ebarnes? Get advice from others on this. (Anything they can poke their eyes out on? Get their silly heads stuck in? Use as footholds to 'surf' over the top?)

Overall, though, I'd like to see quality data posted here, to see real and actual ornithological research undertaken.

SE

Uno Chick is here today.
 

birdeo

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 11, 2013
261
33
96
personally I think a device like you are considering would only serve to spook the bird sending it into panic....stick with 6 foot non climb non welded horse fencing and you should be fine. ( post on the outside)
 

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