Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by Tame Emu Guy, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Tame Emu Guy

    Tame Emu Guy Chillin' With My Peeps

    ‘Another psychological problem is boredom. There are no cages large enough for orang-utans, who have a natural-habitat requirement of several kilometres. Indeed, there are no cages large enough for any large mammal. Being enclosed in this way may result in stereotypical behaviour (highly stylised behaviors such as . . . moving up and down the cage . . . ‘

    ‘the orang-utans: their evolution, behaviour, and future,’
    Kaplan and Rogers

    I came across this in my work, BYC-ers, and 'fence-walking!' popped into my mind.

    Supreme Emu
  2. kbgh

    kbgh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Obviously, Emu have a need to roam many kilometers. And hell if a fence is in the way, go over it or mash it down.

    I know one old Emu that roams miles and miles but always comes home to the clearing to roost. (Sound like someone you know S.E.)
  3. Tame Emu Guy

    Tame Emu Guy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well . . . it’s important to me that no one sees any criticism in this quote. Emus will roam miles if they can; but pet birds live twice as long. Full stop.

    Meanwhile, though, we have – over about three years now – gone to and fro over the issue of why birds ‘walk fences.’ It’s not the fact of a pen – there are some BYC-ers who have environments for their birds that are fabulous. It’s pens that are too small (and ‘boring’ to boot).

    My point is that some people have suggested that fence-walking is not a sign of anything in particular. This passage suggests otherwise. That’s all.

  4. Raptor65

    Raptor65 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2012
    Gerry went through a phase where he'd constantly pace the back side of the house, banging on the windows all the way even with an acre of land to run around on. At some point though, he stopped and went back to his normal self, still not sure what triggered the pacing or what stopped it, best guess is he was unhappy with the change in weather or was upset by the thunder and lightning we get in the fall. The snow doesn't seem to bother him though (Neither does slipping and falling in it for that matter).
  5. kbgh

    kbgh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote: This makes sense.

    Wild birds "scrounge" for food. Being opportunistic in finding food and water where it is means traveling miles to find the basics of life. Domestic emu have it made. Plenty of fresh food and water and no predators.

    Wild emu have some natural predators, I'm sure Domestic bids have protectors from predators.

    Results : good food and water + no predation = LONGER LIFE

    I agree the Fence Walking may come from either boredom or the need for just plain good exercise. Walking the fence perimeter would give a longer walk than just stolling across the pasture.

  6. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    the only time mine will pace the fence is if they see something on the other side that they just HAVE to investigate.. my husband working on the car is a good example. The shiny tools.. the fact that he is listening to music.. the crawling under the car of messing around under the hood just gets their curiosity going.. but as soon as he has put the tools away.. closed the hood and shut off the music they go back to running around and playing in their yard..

    i do have one who seems to be a practical joker. Dorian likes to grab a feed bag and chase the others around the yard with it dangling from his beak.. then after they are all in a panic he will drop the bag.. raise up as tall as he can get and fluff out then proceed to stomp the heck out of it.. Once he is done (and the killer feed bag has been defeated) he strolls away still fluffed up like he just did the greatest thing in the world.. Afterward the others go on about life as if nothing sinister has happened.

    I do give mine toys to play with.. some go over better than others. My mini equines love to play with washed out gallon milk jugs.. the emus couldn't care less about them. The emus prefer to have "shiny toys" (I just have to make sure they are emu safe). Wind chimes seem to be a favorite. But Dorian will steal a feed bag (even though it isn't shiny) just so he can chase the others with it.
  7. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Having an easy life would also contribute to the boredom factor.. If you don't have to "work" to get food, after you have eaten what do you do with your time? We don't supply them with a TV or computer to help wile away the hours (though my African Grey parrot DOES watch TV pretty much all day and LOVES it), so what's an emu to do? They have explored every inch of their little world.. so why not look for a way to wander beyond it?
  8. nok13

    nok13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 8, 2012
    the behavior is called stereotype behavior; boredom is one factor but often, like horse cribbing and dogs licking their paws constantly, it becomes habit... a sort of 'mental masturbation' for a better term i.e. the behavior gives a sort of pleasure, anything from release of anxiety to stretching muscles, so the reward for the behavior is the feeling good, so to feel good, the animal does the behavior, and the reinforcement is built in the cycle... so is whirling around in dogs, goats rub their foreheads, or suck their own teats (had one do that, for a three months we didnt understand where all her milk was going, til we caught her in action)...

    round fences break some habits, changing toys in the habitat help, making a 'search for food' game set up works (like for dogs, the KONG is a well known toy, but for monkeys, food treats are hidden in bamboo sticks, under things, elelphants have to lift and move logs to get to a treat, scattering food makes the animal work and search for it... so take part of the food and place in harder to get places, or scatter it, and the bird will have to search to find)...

    after a change in schedule or stress there is more fence pacing, paw licking, fence chewing, just like humans smoke cigarettes or chew gum or nibble their hair more under stress, as the action relieves the stress (pressure)...

    yes, i had emus, and ostriches, and various and sundry mammals and reptiles... not farmed, but as petting zoo so we had to provide habitats for them...

  9. Tame Emu Guy

    Tame Emu Guy Chillin' With My Peeps


    thank you. That is helpful and interesting. Swarbrick (Emu Husbandry Guidelines) mentions the search-for-food tactic.

    Supreme Emu
  10. Tame Emu Guy

    Tame Emu Guy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry, Yinepu, missed your post: yup . . . boredom . . .


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