emus first eggs

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by Mroc, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Mroc

    Mroc Hatching

    Nov 26, 2016
    Hi. I'm new here. I acquired 2 male and 1 female emu chicks 3 years ago. Have very much enjoyed raising them and plan to keep them their entire lives (or mine). I assume that they have common parents but can't verify for certain. I knew that my female might start laying eggs this winter but I guess I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. I saw them breeding for the first time just yesterday, and today I'm pretty sure one of the boys is sitting on the first egg. I have many questions and would welcome any advice.
    My birds are tame. I don't touch them daily but nearly so. The female has her neck constantly ruffed out today and is very interested in the sitting male. Is it safe for me to try and get the egg out from under him, or is one or the other likely to get aggressive?
    I live in central IN so winter temps are highly variable. Some years the ground never freezes, other years we can get into the minus teens and stay in single digits for extended periods. They have access to a 3-sided shelter, and that is where the male is sitting. I'm frankly not sure yet what I intend to do with the eggs. I may attempt to incubate some or I may just blow them out. But I'm also intrigued by the idea of letting him brood them naturally. Is that even an option? I'm concerned that he might freeze to death sitting on them for so long without ample nutrition. From everything I've read and been told, the sitting male will not get up to eat. Will he eat while he sits if I put food in his range? Is this a bad idea for some reason I'm not thinking of?
    As to the issue of their relatedness, I have no idea how much inbreeding may already be in this line. My birds are vigorous and have always been healthy - no evidence of any genetic issues. But like I said, I'm pretty sure that mom and dad are siblings. Given that I don't know the degree of inbreeding, should I even try to hatch these eggs?
    Thanks in advance for any advice. I have many years experience raising, incubating, etc various chicken breeds and guineas, but I still feel like an emu neophyte after 3 years.
  2. briefvisit

    briefvisit Songster

    Nov 9, 2013
    As fast as i can type
    im really retired but there s so little info now:

    inbreeding is i understand an increasing problem in the states: the gene pool is limited

    males don't eat while sitting I reckon cause then they poo

    there are photos about of emus sitting happily in inches of snow. in autumn the birds eat eat eat up big. the male develops a repository of fat on the back. he is good to go for the incubation.

    the female has her ruff up cause that's part of her aggression display (along with foooomphing and walking sideways).

    if you can touch the male you should be able to get the eggs out. he will either sit there or jump up in fright.

    And if you have the time, here is a complete record -- I understand unique in the world -- of a male incubating:


    And here is a photo of the wild male, 'Boy Emu'. It is the very favourite of all my photos. (I watched the hatch, over four days, through binos, from about thirty feet. He has five chicks under him in the photo.)


    Here is Eric 'plus', the dad of the female who laid B.E.'s eggs, here just days ago with this year's (v. large) clutch:

  3. Mroc

    Mroc Hatching

    Nov 26, 2016
    Thank you so much for sharing this info and your experience, It's an excellent start. I will probably try approaching the sitter today (if he is indeed sitting - I haven't checked on them yet this morning). From everything I've read, which is obviously nowhere near as good as experience, I was surprised to find him apparently sitting on day 1. Or maybe I should say Egg 1. I expected to find a few eggs over the coarse of a week or so before one of the boys actually started incubating. I guess that's what I get for assuming, or for believing too much of what I read. There's no substitute for experience.
    Thanks again.

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