First time hatching Emus, some fairly urgent questions

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by Erka97, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. Erka97

    Erka97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    23
    54
    Mar 30, 2017
    So, I've just got my first three emu eggs. They are shipped eggs and were allowed to sit for about six hours before being put in the incubator, which is at about 36 degrees celcius. As far as I've researched this is the right temperature, and humidity will be determined by both weight loss [I've already weighed them once] and a meter placed in the incubator once it arrives. I have been told that they must be turned around five times per day, though more seems to be preferred, but what I am unclear on is when turning should be started. The person I got the eggs from said that one should wait "a couple days" before turning the eggs, while other sources seem to suggest starting to turn the eggs on the first day. Which of these is better? And what is meant by "a couple days" [as in general a day is a long time in bird embryo terms]?
    -Note that not turning eggs right away seems odd to me, since in my previous experience with chickens and ducks the egg turning is started on the first day, however this may be different with Emus.-
    That is the most pressing question for now, but also, what is the best way to determine fertility of eggs? I have heard of two forms of a wiggle test, one involving placing the egg in warm water and the other simply placing it on a flat surface and talking to it until it wiggles, and another test in which the egg is left out of the incubator for a few minutes to allow for one to feel for the heat produced by a chick, all of these seem to be used after day 35.
    I've also devised my own test, in which I will use a human fetal heart beat monitor to listen for the heart beats of the chicks once they have them. Would this be safe for the chicks? Would it even work? Note that I will be testing it -the safety at least- on chicken eggs since I have easy access to those.

    Thanks, to anyone who is able to help.
     
  2. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    91
    126
    Jul 21, 2016
    Southwest PA
    I turned mine the first day. One hatched in day 54 and the other never developed.
    I tried to listen with a really good stethescope and never heard anything in either egg. The wiggle test was the only way I knew I had a viable chick.
    The cooling test was positive for both eggs. Like I said, one never developed so I think the cooling test is unreliable.

    Let us know how things progress.
     
  3. Erka97

    Erka97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    23
    54
    Mar 30, 2017
    The seller I bought them from said to wait about three days to turn them, which seems similar to what people are doing with shipped eggs of other species [for chickens it seems to be between 2 and 8 days], so I think I will start turning them tomorrow, which will be day three and a sort of average of everything I've heard [seller says wait, everywhere else doesn't mention waiting]. After that I suppose all there is to do is wait, since even my heart monitor test probably won't work, if at all, until there's a pretty big chick. In humans it's supposed to work around weeks 9-12, and as far as I can tell an emu embryo is of comparable size about half way through development.

    Thanks for the advice. I will stay on here and post updates [if I have any], and I hope at least one of them hatches.

    Oh, and how often did you turn yours? I've got a bunch of answers for that too; every 4 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour, 5 times per day.. I have no turner so I'll be turning them by hand, and I'll have to work around school as I have college classes to go to - I've timed it so the eggs should hatch just after I get out for the summer.
     
  4. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    91
    126
    Jul 21, 2016
    Southwest PA
    I turned 5 times per day. I've read in the wild the daddy Emooo turns them upwards of 95 times per day.
     
  5. Erka97

    Erka97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    23
    54
    Mar 30, 2017
    So today Is one week the eggs have been incubating, and I really wish I could see how they're doing like I do with my chicken eggs. I had to turn the temperature down a degree since it kept going too high and besides according to what I've read both the wild male emus and the more successful breeders incubate at lower temperatures [I've seen between 31 and 36 degrees celcius], and had to switch from 36 to 35 degrees since my other thermometer, the one actually resting on the eggs, kept reading 99 degrees F, which seems to me to be getting close to being in danger of overheating them.
    I turn them at 12, 8,12,4, 8 each day, with some "half turns" in between since emu fathers sometimes turn the eggs to a lesser degree and more often than we humans seem to do, either specifically with their beaks or by shaking their legs to make the eggs move around more randomly.
    I also might post the weekly weights on here to keep better track of them, now that my scale seems to be working properly.
    Here's an article I found about natural hatching behavior of Emus: http://mro.massey.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10179/5385/02_whole.pdf?sequence=2
    If anyone has found any similar articles, or really anything else useful, I'd love to take a look at it in the hopes of improving my emus' chances of hatching successfully.
     
  6. Erka97

    Erka97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    23
    54
    Mar 30, 2017
    So my incubator is being even more wonky today, it goes down to 93 when it's set to the equivalent of 95, so I turn it up and it acts like it's still set to a degree [C] lower than it should be.
    Therefore, what is the widest acceptable range of temperatures for emu eggs? I've seen quite a wide range in all my research, anywhere between the equivalent of 91 to 99 with the note that low temperatures -at least later in development- are better tolerated than high ones, but I'm very worried about them since unlike my other eggs I have no way of seeing how they're doing in there.. It's going to be a long fifty or so days.

    Egg Weights:

    Day 3 [Scale failed on day 1]
    A:543
    B:593
    C:574

    Day 7:
    A:537
    B:583
    C:565


    Are these good so far? They seem okay to me but I have no experience and am currently just worrying about everything.
     
  7. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    91
    126
    Jul 21, 2016
    Southwest PA
    Erka,
    There is no point to weighing the eggs if you don't know why you are doing it.
    The reason you weigh an emu egg a very few days is because you need to know if the eggs has too much or too little moisture in it.
    Too much water in egg=drowned chick.
    Too little water in egg=shrink wrapped chick shock also causes death.
    You want your eggs to lose 15% of their starting weight.
    For example,
    If an egg weighs 100g. At hatch you want it to weigh 85g. 15%of 100g is 15g. 100-15=85.
    Target hatch is 52 days. 15g÷52 days= 0.23g per day. If you weigh your egg on day 10, it should have lost 2.3g. (10×0.23). So a 100g emu egg on day 10 should weigh 97.7g (100-2.3). If it weighs more than that you should reduce your humidity in the incubator. If it weighs less you should increase your humidity.
    If you check out the first few of my posts in the thread "the life of Daryl the emu" I explain it in greater detail. Hope that helped.
     
  8. Erka97

    Erka97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    23
    54
    Mar 30, 2017
    Yes, I know that but as far as I've read it's a range rather than exactly 15%. Some articles I've read following the emu hatches of others, for example, have had losses of about 17% and had healthy chicks, and I've also seen a study on wild emus where healthy chicks were hatched with a weight loss of closer to 10%. That said, I'll be recalculating how much my eggs need to lose per day, since my original calculations for that are off by a lot due to an error with my scale.

    Do you have anything to say for the proper range of temperatures to hatch emu eggs at? My incubator is currently having a fit and is at 93 degrees F if the thermometer on top the eggs is correct. I'm going to get another one tomorrow. I assume variation in incubation temperature isn't too bad an issue since in the wild a nest would be unlikely to be uniform in that way and the eggs are moved and rolled far more than they are in an incubator where I carefully turn them over several times per day.
     
  9. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    91
    126
    Jul 21, 2016
    Southwest PA
    I see what you're saying. I'm sure there is a great deal of variation in the wild. 15% is a guideline.
    As far as temperature goes, ive read 95 is the low end of acceptable. I incubated Daryl at 96.5-97 degrees. I agree that lower is is better than too high but 93 sounds too low.
     
  10. Erka97

    Erka97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    23
    54
    Mar 30, 2017
    On top of the eggs it is currently 95 degrees, but on the other side of the eggs from the heater it is only 93. My incubator is set to 37 degrees C now but the temperature does not seem to be rising at all. I'm going to be so mad if this kills my eggs, it never messes up when I'm incubating chickens!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by