Emu advice?

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by SniperGoose, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. SniperGoose

    SniperGoose Songster

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    Hello!
    I've been considering getting some emus in the future - probably within the next few years (strictly as pets). I've always wanted some. I like to plan things out in advance and really understand what I'm getting into before I buy any animal(s). So I have a few questions that I can think of right off the top of my head!

    1) I live on a 550 acre farm, so I know I have plenty of room for some emus. I've read before that they need about as much room as a horse would need. I do plan on giving them quite a lot of room on the property for sure. But how tall of a fence do I need, and what would be the best fence material for that?

    2) I read that emus love water/love to swim. Ideally I would love to have a decently large pond made for them in this enclosure. But if that isn't doable for some reason, what are some other good options?

    3) I understand that getting them and getting all of this set up for them is going to probably be pretty expensive. I have no problems with that one bit. However, in the long run of things, how much do you spend (on average) on your emu per year? I'd like to have a general idea!

    4) I plan on getting 2 emus, as they're social animals and need a buddy. I want to get them pretty young, so I can really imprint on them and get to know them from a young age, like I have with all my chickens and geese. Emu eggs seem easier to come by than actual young emu chicks. However, I've never hatched out eggs before in an incubator. I don't feel like emu eggs are the ideal first time choice for this, so buying emu chicks would probably be the safer route to go for me, right?

    5) Does gender really matter? I personally don't have a preference, but does a male and a female do better together than, say, a male and a male/female and a female? I don't want any fighting breaking out!

    6) If possible, could I see some pictures of your emu enclosures/setups (and your emus of course!)? I'd love to get some ideas!

    If there's anything I neglected to ask that you think is important to know regarding emus, please do tell me! I really wanna know as much as I can.

    Thanks! :D
     
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  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    Hi!

    A lot of breeders actually set their emus up in pens that are 20' by 100' per pair. More space is obviously better, but it's important that the pen is at least 100' long so they can run - most of the time they pace the fence line/run along the fence line. The fence needs to be AT LEAST five feet tall, and honestly I'd go taller. My female, and mine are still juveniles, has gone over a four foot fence. As an adult she'd likely have no problem with a five foot fence. My fence is seven feet tall. A lot of people do eight feet. I already had four foot tall fencing in place, so I ended up buying more four foot fencing to extend it, but it would be much easier when starting from scratch just to buy seven or eight foot tall fencing. No climb horse fencing is often recommended. So is chain link.

    You can use large kiddie pools for them to wallow in. That's what I do :)

    Not counting housing and fencing, I buy my two emus 50 pound bags of Poulin Grain ratite feed. It's $20 a bag, and I go through a bag maybe every two weeks. So that comes to $480 a year. That is of course not counting the treats I buy them like fruits and veggies, etc, so that's got to be taken into account too. And I buy hay for their barn, but the price on that will depend on how much a bale costs locally for you.

    If you buy chicks, then you're guaranteed to have emus. If you buy hatching eggs, not so much. I am an experienced hatcher. I bought four eggs and hatched two emus. Plus, with chicks you could potentially get some from a breeder that DNA sexes them, so you might be able to pick out your genders.

    They say males make better pets. My male is shy and not as wild as my female is. However, my female is more outgoing and friendly towards me. For two, I'd try to get either a pair or two males, since females can get aggressive during the breeding season and might fight.

    Pictures? Oh boy do I have pictures, lol.

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    Baby pictures too:

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    Here's one of my emu barn while I was still getting the roof situated and painting done:

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    And some of my seven foot tall fencing:

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    You can see some of their pen in the background of this one, all of that wooded area is theirs (yes, she's wearing a hat, lol):

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. SniperGoose

    SniperGoose Songster

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    Oh wow, after hearing that, I'll definitely be doing an 8 foot fence just to be on the safe side! I'll probably end up giving them much more room than that too, but that gives me a good general idea for sure. I'm not entirely sure where I'll be putting this fence up at just yet, but I have a good while to think about it.

    Sounds like they're not too horribly expensive in the long run of things! It's about what I expected anyways. I'll probably spoil them with treats too lol. As for hay, it's fairly cheap around here so that won't be too expensive either. We actually have a large stock of it in our main barn right now for our chickens and geese!

    Yeah you make a good point there! I may try hatching chicken eggs or something in the future because that is something I wanted to try and get into at some point. But I'll keep away from emu eggs lol. Hopefully I can find someone who sells emu chicks in my state when the time comes!

    Well in that case, I will probably go with a male and a female! Are the females aggressive towards people during breeding season at all?

    Looks like you have a very nice setup for them! They're so adorable too! Especially that last picture of her wearing a hat lol. Too cute! :)
    Are those chickens I see in the background of that last photo? How do they get along with other animals such as other poultry, or even cats and dogs? I don't plan on keeping other animals in there with them at all, but we do have some outdoor farm cats here and a few dogs. I'm just curious! I've heard they'll attack other animals, but I assume that depends on the individual.

    Anyways thank you so much! This was tremendously helpful! :D
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    They can be - sometimes they do become aggressive towards certain people.

    They are! Mine live with and grew up with chickens, ducks, and geese. Desi, the male, grew up with a gosling since Ciara, the female, hatched 12 days after him, so he was lonely and needed a friend. I had also had a single gosling hatch, so the two were raised together.

    I haven't tried them with cats and dogs. They weren't around them much as babies. I'd be afraid they'd stomp a cat to death.
     
  5. briefvisit

    briefvisit Songster

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    'Oh wow, after hearing that, I'll definitely be doing an 8 foot fence just to be on the safe side! I'll probably end up giving them much more room than that too, but that gives me a good general idea for sure.'

    Why does it make me feel like a radical? Yeh, I'd like to see bigger pens.

    Great text, Pyxis! Somewhere somewhere, I have a draft of a series of basic posts I worked up: these questions are asked often. It would work well for a disciplined member like yourself to have the posts ready. This could include links to 'academic' papers on emu care. (Swarbrick)


    Fences: gotta be the right type of fence, so the sillies can't hurt themselves. For example, Australia has this 'ring lock' stuff that they get caught in, and sustain horrible injuries.

    The height of fences -- I think six feet is high enough -- is about how they 'surf' fences when panicked: emus can pretty much 'pop over' a yard-high fence. Okay. And in a normal state, they don't plot escapes. Okay. But if panicked, they have an amazing facility to sorta 'run up' the fence, and 'surf' over the top.

    [They seem to 'think in straight lines.' They're dumb -- they're birds! But it's constraints that are their undoing. That is, in the open, they zip around without problems. But if panicked, they lose all sense of 'Go left, then right, then through the gate.' And they just blindly charge ahead; and if 'ahead' is a fence . . . ]


    SE

    Limpychick and Tooshtoosh are here, eyeing the undersized plums on the early-plum tree
     
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  6. astrid660

    astrid660 Songster

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    I have witnessed this with my own eyes. Mine were barely two months old and they just got running and woosh - right over their enclosure. it wasn't fun picking them up to put them back, but easy enough since they were as shocked as I was about their sudden ability to fly:lol:
     
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  7. vitek12

    vitek12 Hatching

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    Dec 17, 2018
    I'm thinking of getting a couple emu's in the future and if I were to get some do they need a fenced in area or has anyone had any success with them "free ranging" around their farm and just having a shelter for them to go in and out as they please. All my chickens and ducks free range around our farm so just wondering if emu's would do the same or if they would run away.
     
  8. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    They have to have a fenced area. They are naturally nomadic and wander. They'd wander off and you might not ever see them again.
     
  9. vitek12

    vitek12 Hatching

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    Dec 17, 2018
    Thank you for the quick response!
     
    Pyxis likes this.

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