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New Emu chick owner questions

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by refarmer chick, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. refarmer chick

    refarmer chick New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2012
    Hi All!
    New to the forum and new to emus and have a couple questions. I have a male and a female chick - two weeks old. I've had them for a week now. I've set up a stall in my barn as a brooder area and they're doing fine and loving it. The farmer I got them from said to leave them in there for like 3 weeks. Really? We have a fenced in run attached to this stall with fencing appropriate for small birds. Would it be dangerous to let them out or just that its more of a pain in the butt to herd them back in at night?

    Also, my kids and I have been out there for bits and pieces every day, sitting in the stall with them, reading, doing schoolwork, whatever just to be there to get them used to us, but they're very much "don't touch me!" How can we get them super friendly and loving so they're not little Raptors when they're bigger? Any suggestions for treats?

    Finally, I'm on a 12acre farm. The emus are eventually going to be in a 3 acre pasture with sheep that's got 5ft horse fencing, lined on the outside with cedars and reinforced on the inside with rabbit wire. So, no shimmying under it, but should the height/fencing combos be sufficient for emus raised from birth around the sounds of cars and sights of dogs? Don't wanna have to be chasing them around the neighborhood [​IMG]

    Appreciate any guidance or advice. I've been reading through the forum and researching as much as I can, but sometimes, you just need the "been there done that" kind of guidance!
     
  2. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 17, 2009
    Northern CA
    First things first! [​IMG]

    I am relatively new to emus. I have two that are ten months old and I have had them since they were day olds. I also have three new hatchlings, from 10 days to 2.5 weeks old.

    The farmer may have advised you to leave them in the stall so they get used to that as their "home" and will go back there at night. If the young emus are very socialized to you they will follow you back in if you let them out, if not they may run like whirling dervishes. I keep my chicks in the house with me until I can no longer stand it then move them out. That allows us to bond. It has worked so well with this new group that if I leave my office for ten seconds, two of them run, jump, and bang their heads on the bars until I return. We also pick them up and hold them several times a day whether they like it or not. I use a baby blanket to pick them up because if they are struggling I don't want to get scratched up. Plus, if they poop, I'm covered. We just hold them and stroke them and talk to them gently and they usually settle down and fall asleep. It is also a good idea when they are babies to stroke their legs so they get used to that. It might come in handy when they are six feet tall.

    How large is the aresa you want to turn them out in? If it is connected to their stall they will probably go back and forth to where their food and water is. We got our boys used to going into their enclosure at night by only feeding them in the evening. They follow me in to get their food and I close the gate behind them. Doesn't work every night but most nights it does. I assume at some point they will stop going in the enclosure, opting to sleep outside but I worry about predators.

    We take our babies out for visits on the lawn. They stay right with us without wandering. My husband can get up and walk away and they stay put. If I so much as shift positions, they have to go with me. I spend most of my waking hours with them so the bond is stronger to me than my husband. Our big birds are very bonded to us and come running whenever we go out to the yard. They have several acres to play on but they come running when they see us. One of the older boys is a hugger and presses himself into me and I hug him back. He likes at least a ten minute hug every morning which I don't always have time for.

    As far as fencing, my big guys are enclosed in 48" field fencing which has worked so far. They love to race anything that goes by on the dirt road, be it joggers, cars, ATV's, etc. We are planning to raise the height of that section of fencing to prevent topple overs in the excitement of racing. Everyone in the neighborhood races them. They even slow down for Louis and Stuart to get into position.

    Good luck with your babies. Make them love you now and they will still love you later. I believe that otherwise they will be aloof.

    Here's my oldest meeting my youngest.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. waltersfarm

    waltersfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2012
    southeast texas
    Welcome to BYC! I have four emus who are about a year old now. When I first got mine they were a couple of days old. I also kept them in a stall in my barn. They did fine in there for a little while but they definitely need room to run around. They have to have a lot of exercise for their legs since they will be supporting a lot of weight as they get older. It's good to keep them confined like any new animal for a little while to get them used to you and their surroundings and all the new sights and sounds. If you have a small run or outdoor pen for them it would be good to let them stretch their legs as much as possible. It's pretty funny to watch them get excited and run around in circles jumping up and down. The first time you think something might be wrong with them like they're spazzing out or something. But that's just the way they are. My enclosure is surrounded by 4 and 5 foot fence so you should be fine. I'm sure if the grown ones really freaked out they could get out but I haven't had any come close yet.

    Since they're still babies and it's still wintertime, you will need to supply a heat source so they can warm up if they get chilled. They're pretty hardy birds though. I also liked to put greens(collards especially) in a food processor or chop it up pretty small and feed them some. It really gives them a good vitamin boost and they really love it.

    As far as getting them to be more comfortable around you you're doing the right thing. Just spend as much time with them as you can. When you find a treat they like and they're not eating out of your hand yet, just try putting it on the ground as close to you as they will get. Eventually they'll be eating out of your hand. Mine were a little stanoffish when I first got thembut now they are like puppies. They want to be right on top of me when I'm in the pen with them. They are over 6 feet tall now so they think they can go anywhere they want.

    And don't even try to get any work done when they're around.They are a lot worse than a 2 year old kid as far as getting into stuff. If it's laying around they will peck at it and run off with it if they can.

    Most importantly have fun with them. I don't know if I've done much good answering any of your questions but if you have any more there are a lot more people on here who know a lot more about emus than I do.
     
  4. refarmer chick

    refarmer chick New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2012
    Thanks! I'm in Florida and it's like 80 today, so I"m letting the kittle ones into the run to explore. They've been doing nothing but walking the fence! Silly things! I put down water for them and am keeping an eye on them but they seem to be enjoying it.

    What kinds of fruits/veggies do they like for treats?
     
  5. waltersfarm

    waltersfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2012
    southeast texas
    Just like people their tastes are different. You just have to try different things and see what they like. Mine like bread and different kinds of fruit. Especially strawberries. I was feeding some sliced ham to my dog one day and of course the emus were crowding around thinking they were missing out on something so I gave them a few pieces. They gobbled it right down. I read that in the wild they will pretty much eat anything that doesn't eat them first. Especially little critters like frogs and lizards. I guess it would stand to reason that they would eat meat. Good source of protein I guess.

    Speaking of the weather, I'm in southeast Texas and it's 80 here too. Hardly seems like January.
     

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