Natural incubation

In natural incubation the male Emus go broody and are allowed to sit on the eggs.

When young females begin to lay, eggs are commonly laid at random throughout the pen After a time or the onset of maturity a nest site will be chosen and eggs are then laid at this site Dispersed eggs are rolled together and often camouflaged with dry grass, sticks and leaves etc by the male Emu

The rate of lay is slow initially with several days between the early eggs. The rate increases to one egg every three days or so towards the end of the clutch

After some 6-10 eggs have been laid the mature male will go broody and begin sitting on the eggs Further eggs laid near him are rolled under to join the others over a few days the male will slow his metabolic rate to a point where he sites on the eggs full time, will not eat or drink and only stands several times a day to roll the eggs It is advisable to remove other birds from the pen when a male begins to sit because group penning may result in fighting and egg damage and not allow the male to settle properly.

Once a male is fully broody by can be approached quietly and gently lifted to check the condition of the eggs

The incubation period for Emus is 56 days but it is good policy to check daily from day 50 to see if any chicks have hatched

If chicks are to be reared in a brooder house they should be removed at this daily cheek and taken to the brooder house.
If you are leaving the chicks for the male to rear you should remove all unheated eggs
After the male moves off the nest At an early age the chicks are prone to wander and care is needed to prevent predators such as crows, hawks and foxes killing them

Natural incubation requires more space and pens to move birds into and especially so if the male is left to rear the chicks if you plan to do this you should get further information on this subject before starting because it will require different procedures

There are problems associated with natural including the potential for bacterial contamination of eggs especially in wet conditions some eggs will be in the pen two to four weeks before the male sites During this time daily temperature fluctuations may trigger the embryo to begin developing and the low night temperatures may then kill the embryo this is known as pre-incubation

Despite these problems reasonable hatching rates are possible using natural incubation

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