The life of Daryl the emu

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by mich9510, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone! I've decided to chronicle the life and times of my emu Daryl. My hope is that I can connect with other emu and ratite enthusiasts. I would also like to share my experience hatching and raising Daryl in the hopes that it will educate others. Tomorrow I will be posting a chronicle of the incubation experience. Stay tuned!
     
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  2. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    I've never raised emus but look forward to following your chronicle to learn more about them.

    Thanks!
     
  3. Finnie

    Finnie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm following too! :)
     
  4. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After a few months experience caring for and hatching out chickens and ducks I have decided to try my hand with emus. My dream is to someday have an emu farm for meat, leather, and emu oil. I know there is very little money in emu farming (if any) but at this point in my life I just want to be happy and do what I want to do. The best way to start my endeavor is with hobby farming IMO so that's where we will start.

    Step #1 obtain hatching emu eggs.

    Through an internet search I found a ratite farm in New Mexico that sold emu hatching and ordered two. They arrived Thursday December 1st around noon. I took them out of the box to let them rest for a day before setting them in the incubator. They were wrapped in diapers which I thought was super cute!
    My back room which has come to be known as Daryl's room is about 65 degrees in the winter and has one of those fake fireplace/heaters in it that really warms it up when its on. I let the eggs rest laying on their sides for about 24 hours. At first I thought they should be blunt end up/pointy end down like poultry eggs but after emailing the person I purchased the eggs from and reading up a little bit I understood that on their side is the best. The eggs were pretty uniform in shape so I really couldn't tell which end was which anyway.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My family and I decided to name them Rick and Daryl since we are huge Walking Dead fans.
    At 11 am eastern time on 12/2/16 They were set in the incubator. They were weighed prior to setting
    Rick = 655g
    Daryl = 716g. And so our journey began......

    My next post will be later this evening and will include details on emu egg incubation and my experience doing so.
    Thanks for reading!
     
  5. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    @mich9510 the eggs are beautiful, such a pretty color. Love the names!
     
  6. Joesmoe3

    Joesmoe3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Right behind you. Ordered a pair of hatching eggs out of El Paso this evening.

    Hope the Post Office doesn't let them get cold.
     
  7. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The incubation temperature for emus is between 95 and 97.5 degrees F. The lower the temperature, the longer the hatch date. if your average incubation temperature is 95 degrees, you can expect to be incubating for 54-57 days. A higher average incubation temperature of 97.5 degrees will cut off a few days with the length being around 49-52 days . Yeah. And I thought ducks took forever to hatch.

    I decided to play it safe right in the middle and went for a incubator temperature of between 96-97 degrees. I actually wanted a longer hatch time to give my guys extra time to grow and develop for stronger chicks. I don't have a fancy expensive incubator. I used my little giant still air with a fan in it to circulate the air. prior to setting my eggs, I weighed them, as I mentioned before. I also calibrated my thermometers ( I use kitchen meat thermometers) and hygrometers. I started with a dry incubator and adjusted my humidity based on weight.

    Like chicken eggs you want your emu egg to lose about 15% of the total starting weight. Rick started out at 655g. 15% of that is 98.25g. Daryl weighed 716g so 15% of that is 107.4g. To further break that down, I wanted them to hatch at 54 days so Rick needed to lose 1.82g/day and Daryl needed to lose 1.99g/day. I weighed them twice a week and adjusted humidity based on how much they had lost.
    Why is weight loss important? An egg shell is porous. Oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water are exchanged across the shell membranes. If a bird doesn't lose enough weight (weight = water) the air cell will not be large enough and he will drown/suffocate. If he loses too much weight, the membranes could become dry and the chick could become "shrink-wrapped" this can also result in chick death. As the developing embryo utilizes oxygen to metabolize the yolk lipids (fats) and the albumin proteins, carbon dioxide and water are produced. Egg weight is a way to monitor this process. This is why humidity plays as much of a role in embryonic development as temperature does. Incubating at a consistently too high humidity results in less embryonic respiration and a slower developing chick. For example, if either one of these eggs were incubated at 97 degrees for 54 days but the humidity was at 80% the whole time, they would not have been able to utilize all of the yolk and albumin which would have been replaced, in part, by the air cell. If they hatch at this point, there would still be too much yolk and albumin and they would drown, the air cell would be too small and they would suffocate, and they would not be developed enough. Clear as mud?

    [​IMG]


    The following is a list of dates and weights for Rick and Daryl:
    Rick:
    starting weight 655g

    Day of incubation Actual weight (g) Weight egg should be (g)
    Day 4 646 648
    Day 8 636 640
    Day 11 634 635
    Day 15 629 628
    Day 19 625 620
    Day 22 622 615
    Day 26 617 608
    Day 29 612 602
    Day 33 606 595
    Day 35 603 591
    Day 37 598 588
    Day 42 590 579
    Day 45 586 573
    Day 48 585 568
    I did not weigh Rick after this because I was pretty sure he was a dud. I couldn't bring myself to take him out of the incubator yet though. He stayed in until Daryl hatched. The next day I cracked him open and this is what it looked like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I actually didn't feel as bad as I would have if Rick had actually developed and died later. The egg didn't smell bad so I cooked it up and fed it to the chickens and ducks. They loved it! It turned out to be the size of about 10 chicken eggs. This is where I will stop referring to Rick. A few things to note: First, even though the embryo never started to develop, the egg still lost weight. I have seen where some people here think that just because an egg is losing weight, it has a live, developing embryo in it. I was one of those people until a kind soul explained it to me. We all have to learn somewhere and from someone, I'm just giving a real world example to help educate. The second point I'd like to note is that Rick's weight loss was very different from Daryl's. This will be evident to the reader in my next post where I share Daryl's weights through the incubation. The weights being so far different led me to believe that one of the eggs was probably not viable but until day 42, I didn't know which one (Daryl had a positive wiggle test).

    In my next post, I will be discussing How to tell if there is a developing embryo in an emu egg. Here's a hint: it's not by candling them.

    Thanks for reading!
     
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  8. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    You left us with a cliff hanger, just like a real installment of the Walking Dead, lol.

    Interesting stuff!
     
  9. Finnie

    Finnie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't wait for today's episode!
     
  10. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    Any update to share today? I've got my fingers crossed for Daryl [​IMG]
     

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