New emu chicks! Questions?

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by Trevor96, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Trevor96

    Trevor96 New Egg

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    Jan 21, 2013
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    I just received two emu chicks that are about 3 weeks old and had a few questions.
    Can emu chicks get wet? They're a little sticky on their backs for some reason and I was wondering if it would be ok to wipe the down with a wet rag. They will be kept inside for at least a few more days.
    Are shavings ok as bedding?
    I think I read I can feed them chick start until up two months but can the also eat chopped fruits and veggies like apples, spinach, carrots, lettuce..etc.
    i think that's about all i can think of right now..
    Thanks :)
    -Trevor
     
  2. Tame Emu Guy

    Tame Emu Guy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey, Trevor96!! Welcome!!

    Answering such questions is a joy:

    One: emu chicks are one hundred percent waterproof. Emus love to swim, and do so in surprisingly cold water. As long as they remain warm, no problem.

    Two: shavings should be okay bedding. Just watch that the sillies aren’t eating them. Seriously, emus have a habit of eating stuff. It’s also important that the floor under the shavings not be slippery – at least in the long run – because emus need to exercise their legs in order that they grow strong and straight.

    Three: not only can they eat all those fresh foods that you listed, but they should: greens, seeds, fruits fresh and dried, are all good for them. You can play the endlessly enjoyable game of ‘Yummy for Emus?’ with them. Offer them things, and if – snatch gobble – they eat them, then they are Yummy for Emus! The diet of wild emus is far far from being Just Grass. They have an extremely nutritious diet: grass seeds and seed pods, fruits, small insects, flowers, and yes, grass. And the occasional crumb of cookie or a bit of pasta won’t hurt them. Tame birds eat a wide variety of foods. Greedy the Emu is fond of pasta salad, and will ‘share’ with you if your back is turned – or even not turned.

    Other breeders (who have experience with newly-hatched chicks) will provide advice about types of feeds.

    May I suggest hanging, for example, a big chunk of silverbeet up in their pen, so they have to jump and tear at it. It’s good for their muscular development.

    Everyone prefers one ‘Emu Husbandry’ text or another. I like Swarbrick’s ‘Emu Husbandry Guidelines.’ It contains a wealth of information.

    Males or females?

    Supreme Emu
    Rocky Gully, Western Australia


    P.s.: ask about the teaching-them-to-peck thing. I am intrigued about that myself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  3. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

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    What the heck is silverbeet? [​IMG] I suppose I could Google it but I would rather wait to see what Emu Guy says!
     
  4. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

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    Trevor96, welcome and I wouldn't worry about keeping them dry!


    [​IMG]

    Asleep in a mud puddle!

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Tame Emu Guy

    Tame Emu Guy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey, Sheriff! I knew that rockmelons are cantaloupes, and that eggplants are aubergines, and that lady fingers are gumbo; but I didn’t know that ‘silverbeet’ is an Australian word!!

    It’s chard, Sheriff, a member of the spinach family. ‘We’ grow varieties like ‘ford hook,’ which grow to three feet high, and yield long, dark green, wrinkled leaves with an off-white ‘backbone.’ Once it’s established in your garden, you need a flamethrower to get rid of it.

    Swarbrick mentions it in her Emu Husbandry Guidelines. (She’s Australian.) She lists it as ‘spinach’; but the picture in the text shows silverbeet.

    It’s nutritious, which is why kids hate it, and Yummy for humans, which is why kids hate it.

    More to the point, readers, once you have silverbeet established in your garden, you’ll get a lot of emu food for your gardening dollar, and its length and texture would make it ideal as a stretch-and-tear food.

    Yinepu and I were discussing this just the other day. Wild birds – we were talking about the muscular development of chicks -- get enormous amounts of exercise as they stretch-and-snatch.

    Swarbrick has a photo of ‘spinach’ (trust me, it’s silverbeet) hung on a fence; and she writes, ‘Place fruit and vegetables in the low forks of trees so emus have to pluck them down.’


    Great photos, Sheriff.

    S.E.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  6. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    if they do get a bath.. make sure they do not get chilled...

    and forget "lettuce".. it has pretty much 0 nutritional value.. go with kale and collard greens as the main source of greens

     
  7. Trevor96

    Trevor96 New Egg

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    Wow...thanks for all of the information :)
    I got them at three weeks old and they're pretty wild..am I getting too late of a start to " bond" with them? They go crazy when I try to catch them but after a minute or two they calm down and just sit there. They won't eat out of my hands yet but if i throw some greens down and step back they'll pick at them. I bought some of the step-in harnesses to try and harness train them.
     
  8. Tame Emu Guy

    Tame Emu Guy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Morning, Trevor.

    The point is the degree of tameness. I am a singular BYC person because I am the only one with tame birds not pet birds – my birds are wild Australian emus: no fences.

    It is absolutely not too late to tame your chicks. Others – breeders who have begun the bonding process even before the chicks have hatched (by whistling to them) – will provide other details.

    I can stroke the chest of my two tame birds as they scoff their wheat. That’s as ‘tame’ as they will ever be – but the point is that I didn’t meet them ‘til they were about six months old.

    Yes, the fear they exhibit is unsettling.

    Here are my thoughts. Others know much much more:

    First and Foremost Fact, Trevor: if you want them to be tame, you must spend a lot of time with them now. There is no way around this.

    Determine a protocol (which will make more sense as they grow). Talk to them quietly. Move ‘smoothly’ at all times. Make sure that once you’ve picked them up that they can’t manage a kamikaze dive out of your hands. (Pm me if you want details.). I personally never never ‘box them in’ by putting them between, say, me and a fence – but my situation is very different.

    Once they quieten down after you've picked them up, sit with them in your lap, and stroke their head and neck with your finger, and talk to them.


    Otherwise, for example, when they are roaming around their space, sit with them, stock still, absolutely quiet.
    Stock still, absolutely quiet. For fifteen or twenty minutes at a time.
    If they get agitated, sit still and be quiet.

    And -- this will help when they are older -- I think it's good to accustom them to a sound associated with food. I tap my knuckles on the bottom of their feeding-plate. They will come to you when they hear this sound, which is useful at times such as loading them onto a trailer.


    Finally -- and if this sounds smug, wait 'til you've wasted a zillion hours on the Net, searching for info -- BYC is an extraordinary site. The accumulated knowledge of some of the established breeders is of academic standard. If you spend time reading posts, you will learn the answers to most of your 'future questions.'

    S.E.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013

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