Emu with Splayed legs?


6 Years
Apr 19, 2013
I have an emu that is 2 months old. she has always kind of hobbled and her toes were curled in as a hatchling, I thought this might be because of the way she was in her egg. She grew up with baby chicks in a box and always kind of hobbled around as space was quite tight. Recently I moved her with the chickens outside into the coop where she has a lot of room and seemed to be doing great. She still had slightly crooked legs and walked a little funny for an emu her age.
She just started on greens a few weeks ago and has been going great.
Today my wife found her sitting with her legs out to her sides, unable to walk or stand.
I have braces of foam on her legs tonight and she is sleeping in a box in the house tonight.
Why would this happen so suddenly? is there anything I can do at this age she has already almost lost all of her striped baby feathers. Could this be nutrition related? she has eaten medicated chick start most of her life and has done well with it. she recently switched to half chicken scratch half chick start with the occasional pile of greens or grass from the yard.
:( Any help is appreciated.
I'm sorry for your emu. I don't know anything about them, but it definitely sounds like a nutrition deficiency. Are emus supposed to be getting chick starter? Perhaps they have to have a higher protein or other vitamin/mineral? It may even be from too much of a vitamin/mineral. I will try to help you best I can. Keep me posted
Last second thought after re-reading, it could also be genetic. Do you have contact with the owner of the parents to see if any other people have called with a similar issue?
I am so sorry your Emu has this
If it is actually splayed leg, unfortunately there is no cure for it. I had an issue with mine cause she kept slipping on the floor and got it. I tried everything but in the end nothing worked. When they say there is no cure, sad but there isn't. You can read my story in the Emu hatch a long 2012 thread. I ended up bringing her to a bird vet and having her put down. The Vet said because she still had 5 feet to grow in such a short time that her leg cannot be fixed. She could no longer stand and was rolling in her own poop. The Vet also said that if she was done growing she could fix it but unfortunately she wasn't done growing and could not support her own weight on one leg and had to be put down. She is buried in the peacock pen that she would've been running in today had she had no problems. I was told that Emus who have this during the first week after hatching are lacking vitamins. My Vet said mine was caused by slipping on the floors. Every time she slipped and her legs spread, she caused damage to her hips. She slipped the last time and the damage was done and unfortunately irreversible. I wish you luck with your little one but as it gets bigger it cannot support it's own weight and it just sits there. It will start to lay on it's side and start kicking trying to get up but it can't and will scratch up it's neck while trying to. I am sorry I cannot give you good news on your Emu
but I gave you honest info.
Hi, Cubicube.

It’s appropriate to back Yoda up: yup, this poor morsel has missed its chance. This condition (I understand from reading) happens with incubated chicks. It happens in the wild.

Emus are one of nature’s thoroughbreds. They are all legs. Without 100% function in their legs, they are doomed.

It’s a hard choice that comes with the ‘lottery’ of keeping such critters.

Supreme Emu
Hi everyone, Thank you for your help :(
Yes I am trying to help her all that I can, how ever long that is and if it ultimately ends with me taking her to the vet...
Trying to give her a fighting chance because its strange how fast the problem disabled her almost completely.
Today one day after letting her sleep with leg braces on her upper and lower leg to bring them in she is walking again but now she walks on her tip toes. Could this be something different? like vitamin deficiency? But since she was born she has had a curled inward middle toe and walked a little funny, I didn't do a very good job of recognizing it soon enough maybe.
Anyway here she is walking last night, she is out spending time with her chicken friends for now before she goes back in her box with the braces on, trying to give her some exorcise. Does anyone know how and what vitamins I should look into giving her or reducing in her diet?

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I am not knowledgeable about vitamins and related problems, but I understand how helpless one feels to have an ill exotic bird, so I’ll post some thoughts:

If you are reconciled to the worst, then I think the hard part is over: if you can save the bird, great. If you can’t, it won’t suffer.
It is a fundamentally bad sign that the chick hatched with a club foot. I just watched the video. From behind, you can see how cockeyed the chick’s knee is. Think of how the growing chick’s weight falls on that joint. (Humans use the expression ‘go weak at the knees’ precisely because that is one place in the ‘human system’ that fails early when systemic trouble begins.) It’s hard to imagine how a vitamin can solve that problem -- but keep looking.

Sadly, there’s a secondary, integrated problem, Cubicube: this is the stage in a chick’s development at which it needs, not just to survive, but to thrive. That’s the reason for repeated mentions of the type of floors that chicks live on. The right floor gives the grip that they need in order to charge wildly about. Chicks in the wild cover long distances in difficult terrain from Day One. Conversely, some people put the chicks on slippery surfaces, which means that (a) the chicks can’t charge around, and (b) nasty stresses fall on the knee – imagine yourself standing, intentionally splay-legged, in the doorway of a room with a hundred yards of wet linoleum in front of you. Imagine the damage that you could sustain.

For what my advice is worth: if no dramatic improvement within a week, have the poor morsel euthanized.

Supreme Emu
Thank you Emu Guy, That is likely my plan :\ I will call the breeder and let him know the state of my poor girl. Hopefully he will have a new baby to help me out.
Thank you Emu Guy, That is likely my plan :\ I will call the breeder and let him know the state of my poor girl. Hopefully he will have a new baby to help me out.

such a shame such a lovely bird

to me in the Vid It looks like a abnormality than an accident of slipping

so breeder should be advised about it
Yes, she has never slipped around on anything, and has always been in a good space when she grew up, I just think it was always a little bit of an issue that I never thought was that big of a deal. Like she might grow out of it since she has walked that way for pretty much all of her life. She did grow up in kind of tight space sharing her cage with 13 baby chicks who became her best friends... almost siblings. I think she thinks she is a chicken by now. They even roost on her back, I think she enjoys it.

Looking through old photos she used to walk quite normal. But because of her toes it was difficult for her.

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