Need advice on sick Emu

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by Vinnie56007, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. Vinnie56007

    Vinnie56007 New Egg

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    Good morning,
    I hatched 2 emu's early spring this year. They have been doing great up until now. I was ordering in their food thru the feed supplier in my town and she was unable to get it as the warehouse burned down so she switched me to a different feed ( game feed) with equivalent percentages. After a few days on the feed my older bird started to sit more, not eat and was having loose stool. The vets in my area aren't knowledgeable on emu care but I did find one in another part of the state that was. She advised me to treat with an antibiotic and keep trying to get feed in. Now yesterday I spoke with someone that raised them years ago and she said she is 90% sure from what I told her that by feeding that substitute food which was crumbles instead of pellets caused them to have an impacted gizzard. I am at a loss to know what to do and feel very helpless. They are both off feed and water now. I have been trying to get mineral oil into them but not sure I am doing enough or if that's even the answer. If anyone has any suggestions or experience please share. I feel so helpless and guilty that I did this even though it was unintentional. I feel horrible and I so love these birds. Thank you for taking some time out if you have any ideas to share.
     
  2. briefvisit

    briefvisit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 9, 2013
    Deep breath.

    Spoke to a vet (who is a mate of mine). She says that if these emus do have impacted gizzards, then they are in a very serious state, and oil is the likeliest bet. I was going to suggest dried fruit as something they might eat that would 'push it on through'; but my vet suggests that if the impaction exists that likely wouldn't work.

    [I'm assuming their condition is something like constipation: nothing coming out -- hence the oil.]

    And please pardon me saying that, over years of reading on this thread, I've always cringed when I hear people speak of just 'ratite pellets' this and 'emu crumble that.' What about greens? What fibre and other variety do these critters get?

    The wild emus that I observe (there's a tame-wild breeding-pair out under the plum tree in the house-clearing here as I type) eat a breathtakingly zesty diet*: fresh grass, flowers, grass seeds, berries**. If you observe carefully a tame-wild bird with a double ration of wheat, or any other dietary munificence, it will stop after a while, and go and graze on something else, before returning to the wheat: never too much of one thing.



    [I have observed young wild and tame-wild chicks at length. They move in a fantastic world of giant food of great variety. Watching through binoculars, you see both the range and 'zesty' nature of what they ingest, and the wonderful exercise provided in the constant stretch-'n-snatch, and the distances they cover each day -- miles, usually, even at only days old.]

    If the birds survive, I'll offer (I really am 'retired' from contributing here -- I'm just too blind -- but there seems to be no one else . . . ) ideas on how, with water and space and energy, you might produce an environment of a type a little closer to that of wild emus.

    I'll pop in tomorrow.

    SE

    *The exception would be drought for wild birds, when the migrations happen, when they may die in large numbers.

    **In the particular case of the birds observed in the house-clearing here -- a fabulously rich source of food -- they get, to my certain knowledge, grass, a range of grass seeds, a range of flowers, apricots, plums, figs, scotch thistles (and their handful of 'treat' each day: wheat and dried grapes).

    P.S.: https://www.scribd.com/document/156670857/Emu-Husbandry

    Took me a while to find this: Swarbrick. Page 36 mentions fruit and veg for captive emus.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. birdeo

    birdeo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2013
    surprised a vet would want to throw antibiotics at something so quick.
    Yes, get them back on pellet feed and hope for the best.
    You can get a Metamucil type ( NON FLAVORED ) at walmart etc. to add to the water that does not
    " gel up " in the water ( dissolves completely in water)
    try that asap but you may have to " tube" them with mineral oil first... for faster results... if impaction is a serious concern, that is.
    ( a whole bottle of mineral oil ( 16 oz. bottle per bird ... can do that 8 oz. per tube treatment within say about 10 minutes per dose.
    ( make darn sure you understand HOW TO DO THAT right before you try it, you have to get it in the back of their throat and NOT in the windpipe/trachea )

    Briefvisit is correct....KEEP AN AMPLE SUPPLY OF GREENS for them at all times... FIBER is essential in their diets !
    Bulk up on the fiber, give them WARM water with the Metamucil type product in it that totally dissolves in water and good luck.

    Seriously doubt those birds are impacted but not impossible...get them on a high fiber diet , period.
    A quick change in feed/type of feed prob. threw them for a loop.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. briefvisit

    briefvisit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So good to see a post from someone who has some idea!!

    And Strange Times here:

    Felicity came home in spring. With consort Handsome Eddie.

    Then Number One showed up.

    Then Eric and The Cheepers arrived.

    Now -- after five seasons' absence -- 'Uno Chick,' now a young adult.

    And some wild emus have been throwing their weight around.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  5. Vinnie56007

    Vinnie56007 New Egg

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    I was definitely in need of a deep breath!

    Things are going better and I do thank you for the responses. I was able to contact a vet who had some knowledge in regards to these guys and we are moving in a positive direction. I have been doing mineral oil and fiber. The vets that I have been speaking to also believe that its not an impaction and its probably the abrupt change in diet, the change in the weather and a new emu moms paranoia. I offer greens and berry's to them but they are not extremely interested. I will try to give more variety to that offering as well.

    I appreciate all of your feedback, thank you so much. I am keeping on and seems like I am going in the right direction. He is up to greet me and whistling again. Still not on feed and water as I'd like to see but more than he was a few days ago. The stool is changing and not as loose as it was either.

    I am also trying to make myself more knowledgeable so any information anyone wants to give me is much appreciated!

    Thank you again!
     
  6. birdeo

    birdeo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok, good to hear things are getting better and remember, the stools will normally be somewhat loose as a rule..similar to a cowpie if you will.
    Varies a good deal depending on how much fiber , water, etc they take in.
    Also, a dark green or bright green stool can be a sign of stress or illness or even that egg laying is about to begin ! ( just something to watch out for, color wise )
     
  7. Kaismommy

    Kaismommy New Egg

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    How are they doing now?
     
  8. Albanydog

    Albanydog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We changed our Emu food because we couldn't get it anymore and our emu's refused to eat the new stuff too, BUT they have not starved to death or had any impacted gizzards. Slowly over time they have started to eat a little more of the new emu food but we have lots of other things for them to eat so, except for in the winter, they have plenty of fresh grass to eat, as well as all the apples they can possibly eat in the fall and we keep hay and alfalfa in the goat feeder 24/7. My parents live on the same property and they give the emus snacks from their kitchen all the time. The emu's especially like cooked potatoes, mostly hashbrowns, but they also get other veggies too! I am no Emu expert, we have just owned an Emu (or two) for the past 8 years. I have no clue how or why a change in feed type would possibly cause an impacted gizzard, it sounds pretty out their to me. Our female emu. Emily, die last year when she was 6 and had just laid her very first egg because she never had a male around until then. We had a necropsy preformed at OSU Veterinary College and found out she was egg bound, which caused an infection. They also discovered lots of broken ceramic pieces in her gizzard, along with rocks, she had eaten to grind up her food, much like chickens and other wild birds. We are always picking up small pieces of glass, ceramics and the occasional arrowhead coming up out of the soil, it appears this property was once a busy place where someone dumped a lot of trash. I do not see how eating crumble verse pellets could cause an impacted gizzard and my first guess would be that they do not like the new food? Yours are too young to start laying eggs so I would not be worried about an infection from being egg bound but, after our experience with our female dying, I would not hesitate to start antibiotics if ours showed the same sort of signs, better safe then sorry. Our Emily may not have passed away if we had started her on antibiotics as soon as she started acting sick. It took us a while to find a vet 7 miles away that would take an emu and she actually died just a few miles from his office. The stress was just too much for her, you could see how upsetting it was for her to travel in the horse trailer.

    We recently started getting our first emu eggs and I was browsing for hatching info when I saw this post. I hope all goes well.
     

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