Any experience with Emu?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Hello everyone! I'm new to the Forum, but I've been a lurker for months and a Countryside reader for many years. Now I have a serious decision to make and I would trust your opinions.
A friend has offered me 2 free Emus that are half-grown. I have plenty of space for them and feeding/housing is not a problem. I have about 35 chickens and 25 guineas and a SERIOUS predator problem ('possum, 'coon, fox, mink, hawk and I could go on but you get the picture.)
I've been told I can pen the Emus with the chickens while they are young and they (the Emus) would help keep predators away. Also, they would help with deer/yellow flies and mosquitos. If all these things are true, they would be a real asset. But I like to let my flock out of the pen when I'm home and they return to the coop at dark on their own. Can an Emu learn that? A leash to "walk" them with would be a real design effort. And I can just see my little short self racing a 6 ft, 150 lb. bird that can run 40 mph a half-mile to the road !! (Last time I ran was when the hawk swooped the chicken pen). I hate keeping anything in a pen all the time. If I let them out (or they get out) can I expect them to return peacefully? Or should I make up my mind now that if this happens, I go get the gun? I tend to jump into things before I think them through. But an Emu is a big thing.
Any suggestions? If I want them, I have to pick them up this week-end. Thanks.
-- Debbie Meads (email@example.com), November 02, 2000
Debbie, Here's some faqs about emus, Here goes, 1. Emus will eat anything in their pen insects, small animals, grass and plants. (I have my chickens in with mine and they have never bothered them). I feed our emus feed which I get from the co-op. Of course they will also eat corn, horses sweet feed, goat ration, anything that the other animals are eating they want it to. Emus are not an aggressive bird they are usually very docile and gentle, beware they do kick forward so approach from behind. BY the way are they hens, emu hens will ususally start laying at about 2 to 3 yrs old. Hope some of this info has answered some of your questions if not let me know. God Bless.
-- tracy emily (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 02, 2000.
Hi Debbie, though our female emu isn't as aggressive with other animals, any thing breathing wouldn't be for long if it got into our emu pen with the male, especially during laying season, which is now. He would and she also would never harm a human, but cats, my hens and even a baby goat was nearly stomped to death. On the otherhand a friend of mine has a pair of emus in with her goats, hens, ducks and dogs! So this is just like anything else, it depends on the emu. Look at the size of their skull, pretty little brain in there, don't expect much from them, and always treat them with the respect those big ole feet with claws deserve! They are wonderful eating if you do decide they aren't for you, best burgers you will ever have! Ours eat laying pellets, adore the water and love being sprayed with a water hose, you can give them a childs wading pool and they will be in heaven, and though we intitally wormed with injected Ivermectin at purchase have never been wormed since. The females are lovely creatures! Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh TX (email@example.com), November 02, 2000.
Get em. A freind of mine has 6, some are nicer than others (he has one that thinks its his child or something, plays like a pet). One egg = omelets for 6.
-- Jay Blair (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 04, 2000.
Be aware that not all emu are as described above. They can be quite nasty. They've got a karate chop with those feet that can maim/kill you. If they've been handled a lot since they hatched, they may be quite tame. I have a friend who raises emu. She has one that would rather be pet than eat and dang near lays in your lap. The rest are as described above. To get the loving emu, it spends 24 hours a day with you from the time it hatches, and for a week. My friend even slept with hers!! The tame emu is in with the ducks, chickens, etc. The critters know to stay away from the other emu and make no attempt to fly over their fence.
They need a 6 foot fence. My friend also has a predator problem and keeps a trap set, 'specially for the raccoons.
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), November 05, 2000.
"Emu as far as the eye could see"...the great herds of Emu that covered the plains were revered by the Indian tribes which utilized every part and followed the great herds as they migrated accross the great plains. Herds so large their passing was measured in weeks. Herds so large, no one could envision their destruction by market hunters. Paid by the government in part, to subdue the "hostile Indians". Millions and millions of Emu slaughtered and skinned, carcasses left to rot on the open prarie, under clear blue skies filled with carrion birds. Emu, the Great American Emu......oh wait, Emu? Oh sorry. John
-- John in S. IN (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 2000.
John, you kill me !! Thanks everyone for all the kind, informative responses. I took your advice. Got the Emus. Want to hear how I drove them home for an hour in the back of an old SUV? How one "got the heck out of Dodge" at the first opening of the gate? How he/she taunted me by staying 12 feet in front of me in the swamp for 4 hours just whistling, only to turn around to make sure I was still following? How he/she came back to the yard after I decided I'd had enough muck, swamp, briars and serious body injury and went to the house? Or how everyone within a two mile radius looked out to see that big bird in their yard and knew exactly where it belonged even though I had not mentioned getting it to anyone but ya'll?
I'd tell you all these things if I thought you were interested and I didn't mind admitting my stupidity.
I'm officially changing my name. This old one gets into way too much trouble. Carolina Swampgirl
-- Debbie Meads (email@example.com), November 06, 2000.
Oh sit right back as she tells her tale, a tale of a fateful trip. That started in her SUV, and ended in the swamp. And ended in the swamp.
So, let's here the long version of EMU Island. John
-- john in S. IN (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 2000.
Glutton for punishment, aren't you? My version of a "Lesson in Stupidity." Decided on Friday night I'd go get the Emus. Might kick myself later if I didn't. Woke daughter-in-law early Saturday morning and told her to pack the grandkids (loudest 2 kids on Planet Earth) into the Explorer and we'd go to the Emu Ranch. "I thought you were going to borrow a livestock trailer" she said. "Well, they are just babies and it's too short for them to stand up, so I think they will come along peacefully, like a rooster in cat-carrier" I said. Now that's the last thing that I'm repeating that I said because I obviously have the intelligence of a grape. Just for the record, an Emu goes as peacefully into the back of an SUV as I would if my butt were on fire.
We didn't know exactly where the ranch was located, so I had grabbed the directions off the 'net and headed west. After riding an hour I knew we were getting close and told Kellie to start reading the directions. Oh, well guess what? Any other time they would read something like "go .2 miles turn left. Address is on the right." Not this time. They went to directly to the nearest town with the entered zip code. Perfect. (Don't even ask why I didn't read them before I left. I can find S. IN if necessary.) They say the angels look out for people too dumb to look out for themselves. I actually spotted the street sign which is pretty strange for a mile-long dirt lane with 1 house on it !!
"I thought you were going to bring the livestock trailer", the owner said. (Why do people keep saying that?) I let him know that we could just put the Emus in the back, just like I had done with the baby pigs. An hour later, we had cut a piece of plywood and wired it to the seatbelt holders, taped black plastic on the windows and loaded the Emus. May as well have had cattle in the back. Grand- daughter (3 years old) kept saying, "Ma, the turkeys are going to get out." I was sure she was right. Any minute I expected to have one in my lap.
Unloading was the fun part. I backed up to the gate. Grandson held the gate tight to the vehicle. Daughter-in-law held the wire we were using for a chute. And I got to climb on top, lift the hatch and let the birds out. First one went straight in the pen. Perfect. Number 2 made a break, got tangled in the fence and we decided to give him a little space before he got too scared and hurt himself. He was baiting us. Straight to the swamp he went. And stayed, except for brief return visits, until this morning.
Four men with pickups, a fishing net, a well-placed briar patch and Pete (as in "for Pete's sake) is back at home in the pen with Emie-O, who was named by grand-son and has something to do with emu and old McDonald's Farm. Happy to report both are eating (Pete especially) and enjoying each other's company. They have even quit fence-pacing.
Now true enough, I left out the swamp adventure. Me and moccassins and copperheads and swamp muck that sucks your shoes off and briars that slice to the bone do not a pretty picture make.
-- Debbie M in ne NC (email@example.com), November 07, 2000.
Bravo!!! The great emu roundup of the new millenium is over. Good story. Keep us updated. John
-- John in S. IN (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 07, 2000.