Management of Chicks

Emu chicks weigh about 370 to 450 g (about 67% of egg weight) depending on the size of egg. First 48-72 hours, emu chicks are restricted to incubator for quick absorption of the yolk and proper drying. Like chicken Emu needs brooding during their early life. Clean and disinfect brooding shed thoroughly well in advance of receiving chicks, spread litter (paddy husk) cover new gunny bags or burlap over the litter. Arrange a set of brooder for about 25-40 chicks giving 4 sft per chick for first 3 weeks. Provide brooding temperature of 90 0F at first 10 days and 85 0F till 3-4 weeks. Proper temperature makes the brood successful. Provide sufficient (5) water mugs of a liter capacity and equal number of feeder troughs under the brooder. A chick guard must be 2.5 feet height to avoid jumping and straying of chicks. Provide 24 hours of one foot candle light i.e 40 watt bulb for every 100 sft area. Offer small pieces of carrot to the emu chicks since the birds readily catch and also are attracted. After 3 weeks of age, slowly extend the brooder area by widening the chick guard circle and later remove it by the time chicks attain 6 weeks. Feed starter mash for the first 14 weeks or till attaining standard body weight of 10 kg. Ensure proper floor space for the birds housed as these birds require run space for their healthy life. 30 ft run space is required; hence floor space of 40ft x 30ft is required for about 40 chicks if out door space is provided. Floor must be easily drained and free from dampness. Periodical body weights on 10% of birds will give a scope for correction of management defects.

Ostrich facilities differ from emu in which the chicks can be exposed to ranging outside during day time as early as 8 weeks age to adapt to fiber digestion. At 4 months of age chicks are fairly hardy can be ranged outside with less danger of intestinal obstruction problem. Up to 3 months age bird require floor space about 0.3-1.5 and 5-10 square meters as shelter and run.

 Important Facts Related to Management of Chicks:

  • Never make over crowd in the pen, first few days provide sanitized water and anti-stress agents
  • Clean the waters daily, otherwise automatic waters are preferable
  • Monitor the birds daily for their comfort, feed intake, water intake, litter condition etc for making immediate corrections if any.
  • Ensure proper mineral and vitamins in the feed for healthy growth of chicks and to avoid leg deformities.
  • Spraddle condition of legs that are seen commonly can be managed by holding the legs together during the first 72 hours of chicks. This can be done particularly in the incubator
  • Practice all- in -all -out rearing to maintain better biosecurity
  • Never handle the birds during hot hours. Birds easily excite, hence calm and quite environment in the pen is required
  • Birds easily grab any item, so avoid certain objects like nails, pebbles etc in the vicinity of birds
  • Avoid unauthorized persons, material into the farm. Proper biosecurity must be ensured
  • Never keep the birds on smooth and paddy husk spread surface as the young chicks easily excite, run and break their legs due to slipperiness.