As I glance over the most recent thread titles in this forum, I see that 6 out of the last 8 threads deal with health issues involving emu chicks, most of which will not, unfortunately, have a happy ending. Many people get involved with emus, not realizing just how delicate a future 150-pound bird can be, if it even survives to adulthood. I made the same mistakes, losing the first two chicks I ever dealt with and shedding more than a few tears over them, despite doing everything by the book. Most of the "older", more experienced emu raisers (for a better term) on here are glad to provide what we know, think we know, or share our experience with the beginners, for we were once beginners ourselves. Here's a little bit of experience, guidance, history, ec. First, raising a ratite is not like raising a giant chicken. Emus for example, have been illegal to export from Australia since the 1940's. Why is this important? It means that the current emu population in the US is descended from the zoo population at that time. Translation: there are very few stocks of emus that are now unrelated. Interbreeding over many generations weakens the bloodline which makes them very susceptible to geneticly-based health problems. This is not a problem when you are raising birds for consumption/slaughter, but it is when you are breeding and rebreeding these birds for future stocks. I hatched my first emu chick from an egg which I bought off of eBay from a seller in South Carolina. I did everything perfect, the incubator temperature was consistent, the humidity was consistent, it was turned at least three times a day. It hatched out to be a perfect-looking chick. I kept it at the right temperature, fed it the right feed, provided a supply of clear fresh well water,and exercised it as directed. Yet, after a few weeks, I noticed that its foot started turning outwards, it got worse daily, and despite my best effort and that of a vet's, the bird eventually had to be put down. My second chick was bought, already hatched. It came from an old farmer in PA who had raised emus for years. Despite the same effort, the chick suffered the same fate as the first one. Why did this happen and what did I learn? How can one do everything right and still get bad results? First, unless you are willing to gamble on incubating an egg for 50-some days and still not have a decent chance of hatching a healthy chick, do not buy your eggs from a source that you have not researched first. An emu chick's health depends highly on the health of its mother at the time she developes the egg. If the mother had health problems and/or she was not receiving the necessary diet (amino acids, vitamins, nutrients, etc.), she will not produce healthy offspring. Her chicks are probably doomed from the start. Same thing with parents that have been inbred over several generations. My old PA farmer had been breeding emus for years, but they were all descended from the original 2 birds he started with and those two birds were from the same source! There are some great emu farms/breeders out there who do everything they can to ensure that the crossing of their birds is reduced as much as it can. They may charge a little more, but their successful operations speak for themselves and there are the casual emu owners who have a couple of birds (usually bought at the same time and are brother/sister) and try to make some extra money selling off their eggs and/or chicks and from those, its buyer beware! Do your homework first and don't be afraid to ask questions and ask for references.