Help very bad emu behavior!

Ellamumu

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 15, 2013
180
7
81
NH
Has anyone had an emu go bad out of the blue. I have 2 emus El and Ed, El is almost 2 and a half years and is a perfect creature, gentle lovable sweet, Ed is almost 1 and a half and this week he has decided to attack my husband several times, hissing biting the whole 9 yards. We have no idea why, usually Ed sits in his lap, he tried taking his glasses off, changing clothes, offering him snacks, Ed just keeps trying to get to him. I have to hold him to let Rog walk by... any suggestions?
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,905
653
296
Australia
I don't have any emus but hear ratites kept as livestock are also graded according to temperament just like chooks, cattle, horses, and so forth. Many aggressive behaviors are quite heritable so it can nullify a stud animal's worth if it's aggressive.

You can try finding out what's doing it and changing it to try to appease him but generally that fails as quite often the violence is what is appeasing them, nothing else.

Personally I'd cull but if this is a pet for you I understand that can be out of the question. Anyway, good luck with it. You may want to contact some emu farms for information on managing aggression or the potential causes of it, if anyone is likely to know it's those people. Just a thought. There are some emu keepers on this site but I'm not one of them, but I hope in future to keep some.

Best wishes.
 

ES Emus

Songster
7 Years
This behavior is not that unusual for emus, especially when raised as a single bird. A single emu often adopts one of its caregivers/owners as a pseudoparent, family member, even a potential mate! Emus, though often lovable, are not the brightest creatures in the world and when raised outside of an "emu family hierarchy environment" sometimes do not comprehend that it is not human or that its human caregiver is not another emu! We have seen birds that were raised without other flock (mob) members attempt to woo its human owner as a mate, and/or defend it's "adopted" flock member (aggressively) from other humans that it views as rivals or threats, or sometimes they just view another human as a threat/rival, just as it would behave in a natural setting when confronted with a rival emu or a predator. This can also occur with emus raised with other emus too, you may get a bird, that for whatever reason, has a "grudge" against a particular person or animal. Although no one knows exactly what goes on in an emu's mind, this does often times seems to be the case.


The only way that we have had success "breaking" an aggressive emu is to challenge it head on, which can be very exciting and potentially dangerous! Your husband would have to become the alpha emu and confront the aggressive emu during its aggression! There are a few tactics that we have had success with, the least being having a large weapon to defend yourself with, such as a tree branch or long stick. You don't want to beat the bird senseless but you do want it to learn that there can be consequences when it provokes you. Also, hold a hand over your head, as if your arm was the neck of an emu and pinch your fingers together in the shape on an emu's head. Emus will often recognize the elevated head as a much taller emu and realize that it may have chosen a larger emu to fight with and back down! Becoming the larger alpha bird and giving it a couple of whacks (only when you think there is a danger of contact from the bird) does tend to work over a period of time. The aggressive emu will never tame to the point of being "warm and cuddlely", but will give you some space after a while.
 
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Ellamumu

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 15, 2013
180
7
81
NH
Thanks Es, I don't know what made Ed angry at Rog, he is perfectly fine with me. My older boy El is an angel with everyone, he seriously could be a housepet he's so mellow, so I wasn't ready for this aggression from Ed. I'll try your suggestion, right now I've been killing him with kindness, making him sit and rubbing him all over and talking to him while Rog pets him too, but then when I stand up and walk away, he goes right after Rog.
 

EmuChemainusBC

Chirping
5 Years
Quote: Thanks ES. I think this is a very good strategy and good for an emu handler's "tool box".

Ellamumu: I'm thinking both of these emus are male (?) I wonder if this year/half old has stronger male hormones than the first one and has chosen you as his potential mate and Rog as a threat? Does he just need another girl to love???
 

Ellamumu

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 15, 2013
180
7
81
NH
Thanks ES. I think this is a very good strategy and good for an emu handler's "tool box".

Ellamumu: I'm thinking both of these emus are male (?) I wonder if this year/half old has stronger male hormones than the first one and has chosen you as his potential mate and Rog as a threat? Does he just need another girl to love???
They are both boys and they are soooo different . Nothing bothers El, hes sweet and cuddly and just really wants to be doing whatever you're doing. he really likes to watch you do laundry, he steals all the small things like socks and puts them in his nest. He eats his fruit gently out of your hand and puts himself to bed in the same barn stall every night, hes perfect! Ed however is intense, everything is a big deal, every noise, every other pet, every moth, frog,chipmonk, everything must be hissed at and chased, He hugs so tight that he squishes his whole body against you and closes his eyes so tight, its like hes never been hugged before. and with food its the same thing, he eats crazy, I wont feed him his berries by hand cause its like feeding a great white. Its almost like hes desperate to be noticed, but hes never lacked attention. Maybe I read too much into him, maybe hes just a big bratty bird lol. Es's suggestion has been working, Rog has been carrying an old yellow whiffle ball bat, and everytime Ed comes over nice he gets hugs but when he comes over nasty Rog holds it over his head and Ed runs like hell. Rog has not touched him with the bat, so thanks Es that seems to be working for now.
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,905
653
296
Australia
I think maybe what you're seeing is just normal individual characteristics... In any flock, wild or otherwise, you always get those who are hyper and those who are calm and usually also those who are a bit lacking in any show of intelligence as compared to some of their smarter flockmates.
 

Ellamumu

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 15, 2013
180
7
81
NH
Well Es, Rog carrying the wiffle ball bat around with him seems to have worked for now, Ed is no longer interested in attacking him and is actually back to wanting to be hugged by him again. So good for now but Ed is becoming an adult and probably having all sorts of growing pains, so we still keep an eye on him and keep him separate from El if we're not home. He is an absolutely huge bird, much bigger than EL so we don't want any injuries.
 

briefvisit

Songster
6 Years
Nov 9, 2013
872
853
196
Even in the wild and with tame-wild birds, you can see differences in personality, primarily aggressiveness.

SE
 
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