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Introducing baby emu to their parents

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by DoraG, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. DoraG

    DoraG Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2015
    Hi, I wonder if you could offer advice please.

    I have 3 baby emu which I hatched from eggs, the parents live in my field which is 2 1/2 acres and fenced properly. The babies were reared at home in an incubator and have lived in my conservatory and garden until now, they are around 4 months old. I created a fence / pen for the babies which comes off the back of my livestock trailer, they have food water and shelter and are penned in, I slept out with them the first night. I let the dad sit towards the end of the season but he was unsuccessful in hatching any.

    Thing is the parents are running at the fence, hissing at them and trying to lean through and bite the babies. I have been feeding the parents over at the baby pen to introduce them and hope they start getting along, but the parents just seem intrigued and want to get at them to hurt them.

    So, does anyone have any tips on integrating the babies with the parents please? How to get the parents to settle down and get along with them. I am hoping that over time they just get use to them being there and start to accept them. I don't like to see the babies worried and scared either as they have had a very sheltered and pampered life until now.

    I would really appreciate anyone's knowledge on this subject, tips and tricks which might help, what has worked for you?

    I hope you can help, I am spending every spare second up the field with them.
  2. birdeo

    birdeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2013
    Don't even try to let them run in the same pen together until that hissing and kicking stops, the grown birds will make mince meat out of those chicks in short order.
    Best time to even try to let them be together is when the chicks have grown out of the black head stage, IE: when they have the feathering/looks of the grown ones at about 10 months of age and ONLY AFTER you see there is no fighting at the divider fence.

    Only when the aggression through the common fence line stops should you even remotely think about letting them run together , even then be prepared to come the rescue asap and have a way to get those chicks out of there asap, if need be.
    Very good idea to have something for the younger ones to run and hide behind inside the pen too.
    Also, a gate at each end of the pen or a couple somewhere along the fence line would be a good so you can get them out of harms way quickly.
    Congrats on your hatch but please in no way let them be able to get in with the grown ones at this time.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2016
  3. DoraG

    DoraG Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2015
    Thank you, I really appreciate that advice and it gives me some kind of time scale too, I had no idea it would be that long but I am sure we will manage, I just want to do this right so no one gets hurt by the adults. It is just a matter of waiting for them to grow now then :)

    Thank you for your advice.
  4. birdeo

    birdeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2013
    you're welcome, hope they thrive and do well for you !
  5. briefvisit

    briefvisit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2013
    Hey, DoraG.

    Firstly, there is no 'parents.' The males do all the parenting.

    Secondly, at four months, the rearing process is almost half over. Although we're short of data on this, it seems that in a good season the male abandons the chicks about mid-autumn, then may go immediately to forming a breeding-pair with a female. I have seen a male with a yearling in mid-winter, so it seems to sometimes be the case that the male parents the chicks into the second year.
    And it may be the case that these chicks are old enough to become independent. There's a member here, 'ES,' whose opinion I'd seek on this issue, as s/he is an expert with the integration of variously-aged birds and chicks.

    Here's a photo of Uno Chick at about the age s/he'd have become independent*:

    That is, pretty much an adult's plumage on its body, but still the 'black head' plumage on upper neck and head. (This bird's dad, Eric the Emu, is here in the house-clearing at this second, with Mrs Eric the Emu the Third. We have over eight years of observations of Eric's family here.)

    Finally, I'm confused: a breeding-pair produces eggs. Then the male incubates the eggs. Then the male begins parenting the chicks.

    Did you undertake to separate the eggs from the male, and now want to return the chicks to the male?


    And just for fun. Here is 'Boy Emu.' [​IMG]
    He was 'tame-wild' -- there are no fences here -- and we observed him during the entire eight weeks of incubation. There are five newly-hatched chicks under him in this photo.

    Supreme Emu, Lake Muir, Western Australia

    *One of the subjects I'd have chosen to write a paper on is the process of the male and the chicks splitting up. Somewhere (Miniature Gallery of Wonderful Youtube Stuff on Emus ['Emusing' and 'Wild Emus Aus.'] ) you can examine footage of clutches in the wild. Is the father with the Emusing chicks? Note how old the chicks in W.E.A. are.
    The case here is that I am too blind to continue the observations, and it takes a long long time to gather enough snippets of data to gain clear insights.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

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