Shortcuts to Raising Emus – Number 3 – Pen Facilities and More

September 30, 2022 0 Comments

Your pen facilities can make a BIG difference in the workload on your emu ranch. If your pens are built and configured correctly from the start, it will save you AND your emus a lot of future headaches!

Properly constructed emu pens average one acre and comfortably house 40 birds. Shade should be available for birds and shelter from cold winds. Usually a 24′ x 8′ shed is sufficient because not everyone will be using it at the same time. Half of the north side (12′) needs a wall that is open at the top (about 18″). This is for ventilation in the summer and to keep out the wind in the winter. Emus are hardy animals and do ok in cold weather., but wind blocker should be available if they want it, and some will.

A GREAT Shortcut and money saver

Pen fencing can be expensive, but there are some shortcuts. Emu fences must be six feet tall. Emus RARELY get out of a six foot fence. If one is running at full speed and hits a fence at an extreme angle, it is possible for the bird to fall, but it is SO rare that major and expensive changes to the fence are not necessary.

Regular 2″ x 4″ x 6′ horse wire is widely used, but it is expensive, and coils are only 100 feet long, requiring many splices. Field cable comes in 330-foot coils. but it costs about the same as 100 feet of horse wire. It’s only 47″ tall, but you can overlap two rolls (one on top and one on the bottom), and the cost is still MUCH less. You can use 8 foot “T” posts that are two feet on the ground and six feet high. Hang the field cable along the bottom, clearing the ground by six inches or so, then overlap the middle by hanging a second coil on top. Fasten the two coils with Inexpensive and easy to use galvanized rings.

This way you can use two rolls of field wire and get 330 of fence for the same cost as 200 feet of wire and only 200 feet of fence. It’s not really hard to cut the field wire in half (lengthwise) and run half along the top of the fence (above the bottom 47″) and you’ll have half left over for another 330 feet of This way, you’ll get 660 feet of fencing (using three rolls) for the same cost as three rolls of horse wire and 300 feet of fencing…twice the fence for the same cost.

An important shortcut for your doors

Inexpensive, strong, lightweight doors can be made from bull panels at a very reasonable cost. Bull panels are 52″ x 16′ and are made of welded wire. They are about the size of a pencil, maybe a little smaller. You will need to weld them with a wire welder, but these days they are so affordable that one is it would pay for itself in no time and they are VERY easy to weld.

Use a chain link top rail frame and weld the stop panel to it. Chain link fence hinges can be welded and you have a long lasting custom gate. A door of this nature is strong enough for emus and will hang properly without sagging over time. It is a good idea to install a lag screw to use as a latch for the door to rest on while in the closed position. You can do this even if you want your gate to move both ways. It’s more of a hassle, but it’s worth it in the long run.

fence posts

All corner posts and gate posts should be treated wood, not metal. Wood is much better to work with and repairs and changes are much more feasible. Use longer posts or posts (14′ to 16′) for gates and stretch a wire across the top. In this way, clamps are not required on each side of the door. Do this AFTER the fence is built. When you decide where the gate will go, lay out the posts or poles, staple them with wire on both sides, and cut the middle.

When installing posts for emu pens, be sure not to add concrete (concrete bag) at ground level. Emus walk the fence constantly and the concrete will be exposed. Stop about 8 to 10 inches below ground level.

An important shortcut to move Emus from one pen to another

Moving emus from one pen to another is a never-ending task on the emus ranch. It can be extremely stressful for the birds (and for you), depending on the weather, but it’s not necessary. You will need a couple of panels that can be made as your doors. When you need to move birds from one pen to another, temporarily attach one panel to each gate post (with wire) and leave the middle one about eighteen inches apart. Make the “funnel” go into the pen you want the birds to go to.

Take the feed and water out of the pen the birds are in and place it near the funnel opening in the pen you want the birds to go to. The birds will walk through the funnel and won’t know how to get back. It’s the same basic concept as a fish trap, but for emus. After a day or so, all the birds will have moved on and no one will be stressed! If you have one or two stubborn birds, close the funnel opening (so the birds don’t leak out) and leave it. You can use metal rods in the ground at the bottom of each panel and the top will easily come apart and snap back together. They’ll get you out of the way and on the move in no time. They can smell the water. That is his characteristic desert.

Again, short cuts make it better for the farmer AND the birds!

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