Just curious...


8 Years
Apr 17, 2011
I am very curious about emus, ostriches, and rheas especially.

I will probably never have the room to own one but am curious as to what they are like and what peoples experiences with them are.

What sort of animals are they, what are the babies like, what has been your experiences with raising them...etc.

I'm not being ignorant, I really am just very curious and if I ever do get the space and get the temptation I would like to know what I would be getting my self into.

Thanks in advance for any input
Well, Duckchick, the sort of animal that emus are is a bird. Wingless. Giant. People are wont to say a creature is 'prehistoric.' But think about it: (almost) all creatures are. Some creatures, though – alligators come immediately to mind – really LOOK prehistoric. Well, emus and ostriches LOOK prehistoric. Cute and feathery . . . but prehistoric.

Their chicks are quite gorgeous. The trick is to find them still gorgeous when they top six feet. I do, and so do the BYC members, and so will anyone who comes to visit you. (I live in Australia, where everyone should be blasé about emus; but everyone who visits my farmhouse wants to feed the emus. This week a girl under three fed them.)

They are a more time-consuming and expensive hobby than, say, chickens or ducks; and they need far far more room – indeed, space seems to be the first question that comes up when people ask about having ratites as pets.

If you raise a chick from the time it hatches, it should be completely tame when grown.

Next, I suggest that you browse the pages of this forum. You will find every question asked and answered somewhere on this forum, and the posts make good reading as well.

Supreme Emu
Rocky Gully, Western Australia
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Thanks alot Supreme Emu,

I am always trying to learn a little bit more about the creatures around me. I have always heard of and seen Emu's and even ostriches and have always been very curious about them, I mean come on, Giant Flightless birds that look like something out of a dinosaur movie,
who wouldn't be curious.

I must come to terms on the fact that I will probably never have adequate room for any of these very interesting creatures but thought I would go ahead and ask...How much room is adequate room for an Emu?

Also, What is a rhea exactly...this is a species of bird that I have only recently heard of, if you go back about a month I would have given you a blank look at the mere mention of a rhea...

From what I have seen and read they seem to be small ostriches...

Thanks again,

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'How much room is adequate room for an emu?' I hear you ask, Duckchick. Well, it's a bit like shopping on Rodeo Drive. If you have to ask how much something is, you probably can't afford it. If you have to even think about whether you have enough room to run emus, you probably don't have enough room.

You asked about rheas:

take a step back, Duckchick:

most birds can fly, and all birds have 'wings'; but look at the evolutionary niches about the place: some water birds use their wings as flippers to 'fly' underwater. They can't really 'fly.' Some other water birds can only 'skim fly,' that is, they can sort of fly for thirty yards or so.

'Kay, so far, so good: there are birds that can fly, and birds that can't (properly) fly. Next we divide all flightless birds into two categories: flightless birds with sternums, and flightless birds without.

Now we sidestep for a moment: there once existed a supercontinent called 'Gondwanaland,' which broke up, and became a number of the present (southern) continents. Australia was part of it (and some fabulously strange animals got left behind here. The platypus, for example, is a monotreme. The monotremes are oviparous mammals – they lay eggs, and they exist only in Oz. Also, if you want to win free beers from strangers, bet them that not all kangaroo species are native to Australia. There are arboreal kangaroos in Papua New Guinea, which was once connected to Australia.).

So, back to flightless birds without sternums. They are called 'ratites.' They are Gondwanan in origin – ahh!! there's your Dinosaur Thing!! -- and evolved in different ways on the different continents on which they eventually found themselves running around. The largest, the extinct moa of New Zealand, was about eleven feet high. The smallest is the Little Spotted Kiwi, which is under a foot and a half. The two best known species are the emu of Australia, and the ostrich of Africa.

Rheas are the ratites native to South America.

Supreme Emu
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