New emu owner. Not eating their pellets?

mark19851234

In the Brooder
Feb 24, 2021
21
8
14
Hi

I collected my first emus yesterday. Female 5 years and male 2 years. I have had a pet rhea for over a year which is very healthy and happy living in her paddock. My emus live in the paddock next to her. The behaviour I am seeing from the emus such as pacing back and forth, looking on edge, etc was the same as what the rhea did before she settled in. However the fact they are not eating their palettes concerns me. Is this normal and they will start eating after a few days?

Best Regards
Mark
 

briefvisit

Crowing
8 Years
Nov 9, 2013
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I'm sure you know some of this -- and we'd love to see photos of your rheas. There aren't a lot of rhea owners on this thread, but:

get a bit of every emu treat you can think of -- dried fruit, chopped veg, some wheat or lentils and go sit quietly with them, and see if they'll eat the treats. I'd talk to them at the same time.

Supreme Emu
 

mark19851234

In the Brooder
Feb 24, 2021
21
8
14
I'm sure you know some of this -- and we'd love to see photos of your rheas. There aren't a lot of rhea owners on this thread, but:

get a bit of every emu treat you can think of -- dried fruit, chopped veg, some wheat or lentils and go sit quietly with them, and see if they'll eat the treats. I'd talk to them at the same time.

Supreme Emu
Thanks for the advice will try that. They love grapes. Tried cabbage but they didnt seem to care for that tho. The small sheep I have put them with are a bit unsure of each other but hopefully they will get a long.
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My rhea lives with the female sheep and they get on great. Sleep very close to each other and the rhea will try and get food from the trough when they are all eating.
 

briefvisit

Crowing
8 Years
Nov 9, 2013
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'They love grapes.'
'My' emus are wild. So the food/treats thing is different. But there's a feral grape vine that resides here within a clump of shrubs. Both adults and chicks will enthusiastically punch their way into the thicket -- right up to their toosh feathers -- to get at the grapes.

SE
 

mark19851234

In the Brooder
Feb 24, 2021
21
8
14
'They love grapes.'
'My' emus are wild. So the food/treats thing is different. But there's a feral grape vine that resides here within a clump of shrubs. Both adults and chicks will enthusiastically punch their way into the thicket -- right up to their toosh feathers -- to get at the grapes.

SE
Thanks for this. Grapes is all I can get the one to eat and its day 4! Havnt been able to get the other to eat anything. Going supermarket later to try some different things
 

briefvisit

Crowing
8 Years
Nov 9, 2013
1,214
1,285
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You gave a good initial description of the two birds' behaviour
: 'pacing, looking on edge.'
Are they still that way? Are they both drinking? Does their poop look normal?

In my humble opinion, 'treats' should be fresh (or dried) foods. That is, not junk food.

[However, my birds regularly outsmart me when I am eating at the table in the garden. So I know for a fact that they like rice crackers, toasted sandwiches, salads, pasta, and peanut butter.]

SE
 

mark19851234

In the Brooder
Feb 24, 2021
21
8
14
You gave a good initial description of the two birds' behaviour
: 'pacing, looking on edge.'
Are they still that way? Are they both drinking? Does their poop look normal?

In my humble opinion, 'treats' should be fresh (or dried) foods. That is, not junk food.

[However, my birds regularly outsmart me when I am eating at the table in the garden. So I know for a fact that they like rice crackers, toasted sandwiches, salads, pasta, and peanut butter.]

SE
They seem very relaxed now. Not really seen any poo yet as they arnt eating I dont think. The UK has a heat wave atm which is ending today. I am hoping they will eat normally tomorrow as it will be a lot cooler. Grapes dont get any reaction. Tried blue berries. Do you have any nutritious suggestions they should go crazy for as I am struggling?

Thanks again
 

briefvisit

Crowing
8 Years
Nov 9, 2013
1,214
1,285
261
Wild emus don't show heat distress, Mark, until about forty Celsius -- they pant, and poke their wings out. So, yes, 'heat wave' by UK standards; but it should be well well 'within the range' of your birds.

And they're drinking?

Food? I know nothing about captive-emu nutrition. But a perennial discussion here is dry versus fresh. I think if a bird's 'core diet' is dry food, then all 'auxiliary' foods should be fresh if that is at all possible. Hence my earlier recommendations: fruit and veg. As I said, I never give them 'junk' food. (They have to steal that for themselves . . . ).

If you have time, sit quietly -- I mean still still still -- in their enclosure with them, and talk quietly to them. I see here that if I walk past an emu at X distance without talking, it'll shift away. But if I am talking to them all the while, it's clear that I can walk past at X without alarming them.

Finally, taming your emus is a function of time and patience. Kneel or sit quietly; talk quietly; put some treats on the ground; and just be a part of their environment.

[Tooshtoosh's chicks were here yesterday. And I can hear LimpyChick vocalising in the gums down behind the fig tree.]

SE
 

mark19851234

In the Brooder
Feb 24, 2021
21
8
14
Wild emus don't show heat distress, Mark, until about forty Celsius -- they pant, and poke their wings out. So, yes, 'heat wave' by UK standards; but it should be well well 'within the range' of your birds.

And they're drinking?

Food? I know nothing about captive-emu nutrition. But a perennial discussion here is dry versus fresh. I think if a bird's 'core diet' is dry food, then all 'auxiliary' foods should be fresh if that is at all possible. Hence my earlier recommendations: fruit and veg. As I said, I never give them 'junk' food. (They have to steal that for themselves . . . ).

If you have time, sit quietly -- I mean still still still -- in their enclosure with them, and talk quietly to them. I see here that if I walk past an emu at X distance without talking, it'll shift away. But if I am talking to them all the while, it's clear that I can walk past at X without alarming them.

Finally, taming your emus is a function of time and patience. Kneel or sit quietly; talk quietly; put some treats on the ground; and just be a part of their environment.

[Tooshtoosh's chicks were here yesterday. And I can hear LimpyChick vocalising in the gums down behind the fig tree.]

SE
Yes they are drinking and they do seem settled now. I have loads of pellets down so they maybe eating but I am seeing almost zero poo. I will have to call a vet out if they dont start either their pellets in the next few days. What veg do your emus go crazy for? I have given up buying grapes, blueberries etc as they dont seem that bothered. I have had to put up a fence across their paddock as I wanted them to live with our small breed sheep but the female keeps chasing them. Hopefully when they settle in the fence can come down.
 

briefvisit

Crowing
8 Years
Nov 9, 2013
1,214
1,285
261
'but the female keeps chasing them' Of course! If I were a dinosaur capable of eliminating that sheep in a milli-second, I'd sure run away!!

Vegies? Well, other members here on BYC mention spinach (silverbeet). But I don't know because my birds are on auto-pilot. I always mention fruit because it is something I know they really like. (The fruit comes from the trees remaining from the orchard -- they scavenge it most ably.)

Maybe, in order to 'get the ball rolling,' you could put aside the no-junk-food rule, and just try to get them to eat. Peanut butter isn't junk. Carrots? Cabbage and cauliflower? bread, lentils, rice, pasta? scraps of meat?

But here's the bottom line, Mark: although individual birds have individual tastes, healthy emus are curious, and will scoff up a wide range of foods. So you might get a bit of every potentially Yummy thing, and put all of them out, in little heaps, and just leave them. Check later to see if they ate any. Chop things fairly finely.

SE
 

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