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How do you handle an aggressive emu?

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by perolane, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    A few weeks ago I started working at a wild animal park & there are emus in the petting zoo area. They are accessible to the feeding public over a waist high wall. The last few days, one of the adult males has been getting very near to my face in an aggressive manner whenever I go in there. Today he sneaked up behind me & chest bumped me in the back. Scared the heck out of me simply because I never knew he was there & I screamed like a little girl! [​IMG] I almost went down...I then beat him about the face & neck with my cap until he backed off.

    I'm a vet tech but have no hands on experience with these birds. Is this breeding behavior? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I don't want to hurt him but I don't want to be hurt either!
     
  2. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I've never had one be aggressive with me, so I don't know for sure. The 5 I have are not people aggressive ever. They do however hover over me,get in my face, try to get my ear at times, or just lean on me and watch what I'm doing. When they get too close for comfort I normally hold my arm up making my hand into a "Emu Beak" I hiss at them (like they do to each other) walk strongly forward and pretend to snap at them with my "hand beak". They normally turn around and leave, looking at me like "you didn't have to be rude".
     
  3. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    Thank you chickenzoo...I will try the "emu beak" & hissing next time. That particular day that he almost knocked me down...the last time I went into the enclosure to check water, I brought a broom with me & just pushed him away with the soft end. He seemed to lose interest & walked off, but you can bet I kept my eye on him! [​IMG] I'm just a little old lady & this bird is WAY bigger than I am! I was told that this was possibly breeding behavior....his neck is bright blue. I have so much to learn about these birds!!
     
  4. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Well I've never had them chest butt me, but when my one male starts eying me in a way that starts making me feel like a rack of ribs in a starvation camp, I use the technique above to make him go romance something else. Hehe Mine have been raised from babies around people. I would be afraid of hitting them, as it might make them become aggressive, or attract more of their attention. I normally turn mine around if they don't get out of my space with a good push, and use the Beak & Hiss and trot after them for a few steps. They normally give me that look, then will take off running and get excited and run, jump and fall down... too funny. then he will go try to smooch on the mini bull.... [​IMG]
     
  5. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    That's exactly the look...like a rack of ribs!!! [​IMG] I only used the broom to push him away...but yes, I did whack him with my cap when he chest butted me....it was just an unthought reaction to fear! [​IMG] I'll try your techniques next time. Thanks so much!! [​IMG]
     
  6. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    LOL..... Emu have no idea of what personal space is..... [​IMG] They love anything shiny and colorful, almost go into a trance over some things. Mine know the word " NO" , but some things are just too tempting- they can't control themselves. [​IMG] they love to steal things and if you leave something behind, even up high, even for a second - they have it. Such funny trouble makers.
    He does become truly aggressive then definitely use the broom to push him away, but most of the time they are just being curious....

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  7. Supreme Emu

    Supreme Emu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2010
    Emu Hugger, I found your comments very interesting. I have worked hard to provide my birds an environment in which there is simply no aggression. I move gently in their presence, and talk to them. This has allowed me to 'rescue' them on the couple of occasions when they've got bushed in the fenced backyard – unlike everyone else, my interest is to get them OUT of an enclosed area.

    However, on just a couple of occasions, I have splayed my fingers as though I was 'feather-flaring,' and made grunty noises. This made them react as though I was an emu.

    The chest-bumping is interesting. I would have thought that an emu would be so much more likely to peck or kick.

    P.s.: the other day I came upon a mob of twenty five wild emus. One group – it was an open paddock – was still going hell for leather well over a half a mile away when they disappeared from sight. The other group ran down the fence line, then actually stopped and queued at a low point in the fence, each one jumping over in turn.

    Supreme Emu
     
  8. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Quote:Hi SE, it must be wonderful to see them in their natural state. Here a lot of them have been raised from chicks to make it easier to handle them as adults. They lose their fear of people and often see people as another emu. So you can see a lot of Emu behavior put upon people, just like they were emu. My emu think of themselves more as people I think, than emu, hehe... but their displays still mean something to them. My one male will at times follow me around... very close, almost breathing down my neck... and show off. he will walk in front of me, strut, snake his neck, try and puff up... real intimidating if you didn't know what it meant. - in his way,I love you.... hehe So i quickly remind him, this emu doesn't appreciate his advances and he walks off scorned by love.... I can walk over to any of my emu and pet them, give them a good scratch, just like they were dogs... but they are not, and one must remember that they can kick and have very sharp claws, even friendly ones. They do it to each other, so can do it to us easily. That aside mine typically will not kick unless you grab a leg or unless they fall over and flail their legs about. Mine hiss a good deal, how the sound is, how they look at each other while doing it and their body displays make it all mean different things. A hiss can mean "how are ya", get away, I'm warning you, I want that, what is that, I want that.... If I am working on something and have something in my hand, they will try to take it, as I am an emu to them and have something I should share... right? When they try and get it I hiss a deep long hiss, like a PO'd cat, and they typically get taken back and be like... "what's your problem lady, I just wanted to see"... LOL If they get entranced by my hair clip and I see them going for it , I step forward firmly, reach my hand out like an open beak and hiss, snaping my fingers together if need be. They are normally like Whoa... I'm leaving... she's mad. When I greet them it is normally a more of a quick something caught in your throat type of hiss - think cat hairball... hehe that normally is hello, what ya doing....
     
  9. Supreme Emu

    Supreme Emu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2010
    Yes, Emu Hugger, I greatly enjoy my betwixt and between position. There are people in Oz who have pet emus, but always penned. I searched the Net for hours before I found BYC Forum. I haven't found anyone on the Net in the same position as me.

    I learn a great deal from reading your observations because you guys are the only ones with such knowledge. Conversely, I greatly enjoy my situation. My emus were born on this block. I am here. I am of their world, and the only 'impostion' is feeding them. Otherwise, they are wild.

    Some things that are commonplace for you are rare treats for me. For example, it has taken me six hundred days to get within ten yards of an emu sitting comfortably on the grass, and I had to crawl on my belly to do it.

    They just come and go. They'll wander out of the trees, eat lilly pillies or figs, hang out in the house-clearing, then drift off.


    Supreme Emu
     

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