Emu impacted vs Tracheal Sac? Help!

astrid660

Songster
Mar 23, 2018
125
225
116
BC, Canada
Hey guys can you help? I think one of my emus might be impacted. Where I think his crop is, it feels heavy and large. He wanders around the pen for the last few days with his eyes trained on the ground and his neck low, looking for something continuously??? I'm about to feed some mineral oil and dried fruit. The crop felt sort of gelatinous to my husband but I felt this morning and it feels like a wet sandbag. Help! Thanks!


PS I asked this same question on a FB emu group, and I got this response :

" the behavior is normal before/during laying season -- the "crop" is a fat sack -- he built it up thru the summer and will use it for nourishment thru the nesting season"

Is there any way to tell for sure which it is, impaction or a completely normal emu bodily function? Thanks!
 
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briefvisit

Songster
6 Years
Nov 9, 2013
872
853
196
Morning, Astrid:

One: I know nothing about crops; but from past readings I recall that what sustains the male through incubation is a layer of fat on his back (which aboriginal Australians prized as food). We have discussed the burning of fat to 'power' incubation here in the past. Crops have never, to my knowledge, been mentioned in this context.

Two: late autumn/early winter is a dynamic time for a male consort -- one half of a breeding-pair. The pair may spend literally weeks in conflict with all comers as they secure their territory: an emu with neck low and eyes trained on the ground is a sick emu.

'He may lose up to a third of his body weight during this time, living off extensive fat reserves (built up to twice normal levels before breeding season) . . . '
https://alicespringsdesertpark.com.au/connect-with-nature/animals/animals/emu

Keep up the reports.

SE
 
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briefvisit

Songster
6 Years
Nov 9, 2013
872
853
196
For (tame-)wild emus, Astrid, the following is definitely the case:

there are only two 'modes' in which emus normally sit down. The first is when it's quiet; they've had a nice feed -- then they'll plonk down. But even the tamest of my birds strongly dislike being seen in this posture -- that's why photos of them sitting are such a treat. Normally, as soon as you hove into view, they'll regain their feet -- it's clearly a defensive behaviour.

The only other time an emu will sit is when it's seriously ill. I once picked that a chick was ill simply because it sat down while its clutchmates were milling about, eating. Of course, your birds are much tamer; but is the bird in question sitting down more than usual?

SE
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astrid660

Songster
Mar 23, 2018
125
225
116
BC, Canada
Morning, Astrid:


Two: late autumn/early winter is a dynamic time for a male consort -- one half of a breeding-pair. The pair may spend literally weeks in conflict with all comers as they secure their territory: an emu with neck low and eyes trained on the ground is a sick emu.


SE
Hey briefvisit. Thanks for the insight, as usual!
It's been a crazy few days! Sayid is no longer acting "weird" in that regard, and he seems to be eating and drinking. I have noticed that Strider is now being an assailant on the other two. He seems to have injured Fawkes on the back of the leg somehow, and I came home yesterday and Strider was chasing Sayid around the pen!! Backing him into corners repeatedly.

So, obviously I end with more questions than answers. We separated them yesterday, so Sayid and Fawkes stayed together and Strider was segregated into isolation. When it was time to go back into the barn at night, I stayed, weary, until they all sat down together. Strider still tried to usurp the other two's spots where they were sitting. Eventually all was calm though.

Do you think I will have to keep them separated for all of breeding season? They're 16 months old now. They always roost together in the barn and I don't have two barns, so do you think it will be okay to keep making them go back in together at the end of the day (perhaps even later than usual when they're too tired or it's too dark to fight?)

Do you think these behaviors are indicative of a male or female? They all puff up, but Strider seems to, when the other two are 'puffing and strutting' to go up to them and kick swat them from behind.

Noise wise- I'm hearing loud boom/growling but no pig-like sounds? So I'm confused.

And what if I do have all females or all males? are they doomed to fight?
 

briefvisit

Songster
6 Years
Nov 9, 2013
872
853
196
'He seems to have injured Fawkes on the back of the leg somehow'
Perhaps -- good morning, adrid -- the stepping-on-the-tail thang. It's a common lower-intensity tactic. As the weaker bird is sort of high-speed moseyin' away, the aggressor makes repeated downwards swipes at the tail of the weaker bird.

'Do you think I will have to keep them separated for all of breeding season?' Can't say, astrid. My value to you is to describe what wild birds do, and you guys must 'translate' that into policy for your birds.

Thinking Out Aloud: 16 months? Remember I wrote about counting the seasons? So, you have pseudo-siblings who are just coming into summer, when the pairings-up begin. Normally, it'd be the summer of their third or fourth year; but . . .
 
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briefvisit

Songster
6 Years
Nov 9, 2013
872
853
196
. . . they have limited room (by wild standards)? And they've started to fight? Sounds pretty normal.

'Do you think these behaviors are indicative of a male or female?'
Edited: I'm struggling to clarify this one to myself: I'm not sure it's a 'male' or 'female' thing. The wild birds don't form a pair, then go adventuring. They form their pairs as they adventure. So, maybe Girl Emu and Boy Emu chat where they meet on a pasture. Then Girl Emu says, 'Well, I'm off to the next pasture.' And maybe when she gets there, Boy Emu has tagged along. (We know that pairs as they form literally roam huge distances over months.)

So, ummm . . . maybe there are four players here. Girl Emu and Boy Emu and All Other Emus and space.

That is, the moment any male and female wanna hang out together, they're automatically seeking territory. That is, space away from All Other Emus.

And maybe as soon as a male or a female is looking to form a pair, they likewise look for space (territory) in which to do that, in which to interact. Maybe first it's 'lone bird + space,' then the courting happens in that space.

But the presence of All Other Emus 'shorts out' that natural process. So maybe -- final attempt to get it clear -- any one bird that attacks another isn't so much trying to actually attack that particular bird as it is trying to clear some space in which it can operate. [Yeh, I think this is what I'm trying to say.]


'Noise wise- I'm hearing loud boom/growling but no pig-like sounds?'
The difficulty in separating vocalisations isn't going away, certainly while I can't easily upload good videos with audio.
The only 'touchstone' you have, astrid, is that the female's vocal sac (with which she produces a range of calls) can be seen and felt. It was an amazing moment for me. It happened with Felicity. She sparked up while I was stroking her chest feathers, and wow! Balloony thing under my hand as she boomed.

But the 'string of gurks' thing -- males -- is easy to recognise once you know it. The bird will stand still, and go: 'gurk, gurk, Gurk, Guurk, GUrrkk, GURK, GGUURRKK, GGUURRKK!!!!'
 
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astrid660

Songster
Mar 23, 2018
125
225
116
BC, Canada
'He seems to have injured Fawkes on the back of the leg somehow'
Perhaps -- good morning, adrid -- the stepping-on-the-tail thang. It's a common lower-intensity tactic. As the weaker bird is sort of high-speed moseyin' away, the aggressor makes repeated downwards swipes at the tail of the weaker bird.

'Do you think I will have to keep them separated for all of breeding season?' Can't say, astrid. My value to you is to describe what wild birds do, and you guys must 'translate' that into policy for your birds.

Thinking Out Aloud: 16 months? Remember I wrote about counting the seasons? So, you have pseudo-siblings who are just coming into summer, when the pairings-up begin. Normally, it'd be the summer of their third or fourth year; but . . .
... but they're jumping the gun on me it seems!! :)
Well, Strider anyways. The other two don't seem interested in fighting. Last night was an ordeal. Between darkness falling and trying to get them into the barn with a new partitian to keep them separate, Fawkes and Sayid ended up in the big field and sat down in the forested area because they deemed it to dark to return! I've never had my emus not be in the barn at night, so as you can imagine I didn't rest easy. i'm about to go check on them.

Thanks for the advice :)
 

briefvisit

Songster
6 Years
Nov 9, 2013
872
853
196
'with a new partitian to keep them separate'

Good luck with that! My experience is that, once they've locked eyes, they'll charge through a brick wall to advance.

'I've never had my emus not be in the barn at night' So long as they are genuinely safe from predators, they'll be fine. (Got feather pyjamas to keep them warm.)

When you get here, I'll show you a roost I found years ago, out on the edge of the National Park: almost in the open -- most unusual.

My point here? It's on a ridge facing south, and at night, astrid, the Milky Way commands the heavens, a breeze unsulled by human smells drifts in, and roosting in a little room is the farthest thing from an emu's mind.

SE
 

astrid660

Songster
Mar 23, 2018
125
225
116
BC, Canada
'with a new partitian to keep them separate'

Good luck with that! My experience is that, once they've locked eyes, they'll charge through a brick wall to advance.

'I've never had my emus not be in the barn at night' So long as they are genuinely safe from predators, they'll be fine. (Got feather pyjamas to keep them warm.)

When you get here, I'll show you a roost I found years ago, out on the edge of the National Park: almost in the open -- most unusual.

My point here? It's on a ridge facing south, and at night, astrid, the Milky Way commands the heavens, a breeze unsulled by human smells drifts in, and roosting in a little room is the farthest thing from an emu's mind.

SE
They were okay :) A little cold I'm sure, as it rained last night and then cleared up. But, they lived. Lots of predators here so that was of course my main concern, despite the 5 foot fence. Things can still find a way!

So, I went out and bought $700 worth of new fencing today. Before it freezes in a few weeks, I want to have a new back pen that goes around the back of the barn. It's going to be 200 feet. I was trying to "Exchange" them today, and i had to get Strider past the other two and close a gate and get him in the barn...all while trying to "Break up" the fighting. It was not easy, Sayid kicked me in the back (It didn't hurt but he was trying to kick strider through me if that makes sense) and i almost lost control of Strider while trying to separate them.

...two shots of liquor later, I finally stopped shaking enough to continue on with my chores!! Yeesh!

So, a big back fence is just what i need now, so they can be safely separated without me getting in the middle. Right now they have a small pen attached to the barn, and a big field attached to the small pen. So they have to take turns in the small pen and that's not fair to them either.

So wish me luck, it's quite stressful, this whole new development! I'm used to my emus being a source of relaxation as i love going out and hanging out with them. Now they're literally keeping me up at night hah!

And how many months does this last? Til March? OR might they just hate each other forever now? Sigh!
 

briefvisit

Songster
6 Years
Nov 9, 2013
872
853
196
'he was trying to kick strider through me if that makes sense'
Once they've locked eyes . . .


I'm sure the long-timers here have no regrets, but think back on the years of questions we've fielded: 'I own three chickens, a mini horse, and a goose. We have two whole acres. A Nice Old Man at the swap-meet had a trunk full of emu chicks. OMG so cute! So, anyway, I've taken them all. Will they eat a lot? Do they grow big? We have ten-inch-high tissue-paper fences -- is that high enough?'
 
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