Emus not breeding/laying

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by OrangeJuice, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. OrangeJuice

    OrangeJuice In the Brooder

    Jun 15, 2010
    I have 4 emus and I am not certain of their sexes but im almost certain i have both sexes going by the sounds they make. But 2 were vent sexed by a farmer i bought them from as females when they were chicks.
    They will be 3 years old this spring and I was very much expecting to get eggs from them this season but so far nothing.
    Around sept-oct they become aggressive toward each other and frequently chased each other over the fence and i noticed alot of pulled feathers around that time but no breeding. They stopped chasing each other around the end of October and started behaving normally again.

    Im thinking perhaps they have worms because i have never wormed them because i have never noticed parasites in their stools and I was always told not to worm animals unless they have worms. Im going to worm them after Christmas and see if anything changes.

    Is it to late in the season for my birds to start laying?

  2. RoxysAnimals

    RoxysAnimals Chirping

    Oct 19, 2015
    California, USA

    The males grunt like a pig, and the females have a much louder sound, kind of like bongo drums. Many females start laying before they are 2 years old. Vent sexing is not reliable. It is extremely hard, and they must be vent sexed within a day of hatching. It is usually al,out impossible to tell if they are male or female. It sounds like you have 4 males. September- October is breeding season. The males reach sexual maturity at around 3 years old. They were most likely fighting for dominance. I don't believe you have any females, or you would definently have eggs.
  3. briefvisit

    briefvisit Songster

    Nov 9, 2013
    If you can get close to the 'females' -- I assume you can -- there is absolutely no mistaking them. They have a 'vocal sac' in their chest, and they inflate that sac when they are threatening other birds. You can see it; and when I pat Felicity or Greedy when they have it inflated, I can feel it plainly.

    (Don't mistake this for 'feather-flaring.' They usually both inflate the sac, and flare their chest feathers at the same time; but you can feel the sac under the feathers as you pat.)

    [I am fortunate because there's always territorial drama happening here, but Felicity or Greedy will still trot up to me to get her sultanas. Thus, I get to pat them DURING their territorial calls/displays, when the sac is inflated.]

    The second way to pick females is perhaps easier: females vocalise at night. In 'strings.' I can usually figure out which of my tame-wild birds I'm listening to. Felicity is usually about 9. Number One usually about 13.

    Now, you shouldn't confuse females' night-time vocalisations with those of males. Its only in late winter here -- I think when less powerful males are vying for a last chance to get to sit on eggs in any season -- that you will hear males vocalise. Wild males and females have real and actual conversations about an hour before dawn. (And I'm not kidding you: they make appointments! If you hear a particular female talking to some male just before dawn, then you can be out with the binoculars, waiting for a male to hove into sight, heading to meet the female, about a half hour after first light!)

    So, if -- much less likely -- you hear a boom-boom-booomer talking at night to a grunt-grunt-grunter, that's a pair talking. Much more likely, you'll hear, at different times during the night, a string of calls. The bird making those calls is female.

    SE, unicup, Western Australia (Planet Rothschildi)
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015

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