Neighbors may be teasing my Emu & Ostrich - Need help w/ correct wording for a sign...


6 Years
Apr 10, 2013
Though I am unsure exactly the situation, I was told that a neighbor that goes for walks with his children regularly near the border of my fence may be accidentally teasing my Emu and Ostrich. I say accidentally, because they are young children and probably don't realize that what they're doing could be stressful to my birds and possibly dangerous to them. The father/whoever is the adult needs to not allow them to come up to my fence line. I myself have heard someone's child near my fence border screaming bloody murder at them to get a reaction, so loud that I heard it in my house and walked out to find out what was happening. That was what I thought was an isolated incident, until my friend who recently was house sitting for me told me differently. The problem is I am uncertain whether it is the same family or not even to speak with them about this or where they live.

In short, nothing has actually happened, but in favor of keeping it that way because ratites can be flighty and smack into things and peck at hands over fences...

I think it might be good to put up a sign on my fence that faces the dirt road where people can walk and clearly see them indicating to stay back away from the fence. However, I am unsure of how to word the sign to protect me and my birds should something happen. My fenceline is 6 feet onto my property, so once anyone is able to make any kind of contact with the birds, they will definitely be legally on my property, as it is generously positioned back away from the road and there is distinct border of shrubs, bushes and other growth separating the enclosure from the road. Only one side of the fence is accessible like this, the rest borders other pastures and other cross fencing.

What would you suggest the sign says? I don't want to post something that is basically saying that the birds may be dangerous or a threat somehow to the neighborhood, but realistically if someone was stupid enough to climb in there, especially during dusk or twilight, the birds are going to kick the hell out of them. Or less dramatically, if a kid reaches into the pasture and my ostrich is nearby, they bite at hands, guaranteed. Of course it doesn't really hurt, but I think a child would react in a way that would make a parent overly concerned and I don't want problems. Where I live is remote and not busy as this sounds like, I really just want to cover myself in some sort of polite way.


"Please don't approach fence. Birds are shy."

"Shy birds. Please do not approach."

"Big birds. Please keep hands away from fence."

"Birds can bite. Please keep hands away from fence."

Or something a little more stern and scary sounding? I don't know.

"Ratites can be dangerous. Do not enter pen."

Or something more realistic..

"Ostriches are really stupid and may bite your kid's hand twenty times before realizing that it cannot swallow it and your kid is an idiot and you are an idiot for allowing this to happen in the first place. Thank you."

Anyone know what is overall the best place online to order a custom vinyl sign? Online is best, because I live out in the middle of nowhere and far from anywhere in a city that could do this in person.
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Haha, that would be sort of amusing. It will baffle everyone who reads it with its utter nonsense for all of time. "But the sign said..."
Hmm I'd go ballistic if something like that happened to me.

You already went FAR beyond what I'd do with putting your fence 6 feet deep into your property. I'd post no trespassing signs on the outside of the fence, a few inches across your property line so people are aware they are walking onto your property by approaching your fence, maybe even run a string or something between the signs as a barrier they'd have to intentionally break/cross through to trespass.

On your fence I'd hang a few "please do not disturb the birds, it may effect their fertility/health/stress levels (something along those lines, to show financial loss to you if they disturb them).

Any more hints of tresspassers messing with your birds, I'd then hang a game camera or two or other type of video survailance and with that evidence I'd approach law enforcement with possible cruelty to animals, or whatever laws may exist in your state to protect livestock owners from getting their animals messed with.
I appreciate your advice. I am just very unsure if there is actually a legitimate problem or for all I know it was a visiting family from out of state here on holiday and thought it might be fun to go walk down to the neighbor's farm and show it off to the kids. I really have no idea. But it did make me realize that yes they are very visible from the street and I may as well post some kind of notice. I want it to sound friendly, but make anyone who sees it understand that these birds (especially ostrich) spook easy and it is not cool to even yell at them, even if you are off my property entirely it's still harassment.

Plus, my place is not a zoo or open to the public in any way and generally speaking I hate the amount of people who come by and try to look at the animals or drive very slowly down the street all the time. Even once a week is too much, as the dirt road in front of my property is not a through street to anything and I am sure that people take the route to view them intentionally at times. I don't know, it just bothers me. I love educating about my animals and they are my favorite topic of conversation, but sneaking around out there whenever you want and bothering me at my home is just annoying.

I like your general idea for the sign, but it is facing a road, which cars use. I would hate people to think I mean for their car to not disturb them because obviously I put them there myself in a pasture off a street (as much of a street it is). I guess I don't want it to appear like I am infringing in any way on their rights or being extremely antisocial.

As you probably are familiar with the ostrich and emu primarily travel down a given space in a straight vertical path back and forth as opposed to circling or browsing horizontally. The ostrich more so stick to this routine than the emu, but the pathway they take is not on the fence facing the street, thankfully. I am not sure how often the birds go to meet that fence line, but it isn't routine (though I'm sure the emu can be charmed over there with something that they'll want to eat and choke and die on later).

But even though they normally are not in arm's reach, if anyone ever gets the urge to jump in there with them, it might be nice if there was a sign telling them how incredibly stupid of an idea that would be as nicely as possible.
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A nice, strong electric fence is a great deterrent to anyone that might be tempted to reach into the enclosure, climb through the fence, etc -- just be sure to post a sign so you have disclosed the fact that there is a risk of shock alongside a "No Trespassing" sign
I actually have heard from the fence company that did my electric fence on another pasture that it is supposedly banned in my county as of quite recently due to one incident where a child touched the fence and went to the hospital. I don't know how serious it was.

The fence company agreed to set everything up, but would not take the responsibility of hooking up the shock box, which I did myself after he was done with the contracting. I've used it for years here now because without it my animals would break the fence and be gone in short time.

But it's not on anything that borders my perimeter fence, it is contained within the property itself. I don't think I want to chance the possibility that the fencing company could have been correct and put it in at reach of the public. It seems odd to me that banning electric fence in a community that generally keeps a lot of livestock is at all remotely logical and a lot of my neighbors have them. Maybe I can just stick some, "Warning electric fence" signs on the fence and it not actually electrify it. I'm guessing no one would bother to take the risk that it could be true, even though it would quite clearly be grounded and useless. Most people probably wouldn't even know the difference. Thanks for the idea, I think I'll definitely do this one and possibly pair it with a sign about the birds being shy, so please do not disturb. Seems like the most logical decision without being overly offensive or worrying the parents that the ostrich is going to eat their children.
Don't take heresay from the fence company - contact your county officials and have the provide you, in writing, a copy of whatever documentation would actually state that.
Oh trust me, I didn't. I was very skeptical and did it anyway, despite the company trying to talk me out of it. There was no way I could contain my animals without it. I'm just leaning toward the fact that just the possibility that the sign warning it's electric is enough of a deterrent to humans, because who would take the risk of touching it?

Hot wire doesn't work well on feathers and thus far I've had no problems containing them, anyway. They seem happily content with their little pasture together. In that sense, making the fence actually hot is feeling to me like a waste of money when a false sign may solve the problem for a few dollars. But I will think this over more and I appreciate your consideration.
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It's private property and they can not trespass. Put no trespassing signs up. Also, if you want something to give people an incentive why they shouldn't, rather than giving yourself a legal reason to prosecute them, then place some facts or warnings as mentioned.

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