Birdland Hatches its First Emu Chick, ever!

Keeper Al with the Emu chickTwo emu chicks have hatched for the first time at Birdland, with more eggs ready to hatch.

It’s believed to be the first time ever that emus have hatched here and we are extremely pleased that the emus who landed here just 10 months ago, have been comfortable enough to produce fertile eggs already.

So far in the incubator there is another chick ready to break out, in fact if you whistle to it, you can hear it rustling around inside.

It is the male who looks after the eggs and the young, rather than the female and Birdland’s male emu has been displaying and performing the nesting ritual. The first eggs were removed as a cautionary measure until Keepers know more about the personality of the emus. The two females and one male are quite large and there is a risk of the eggs being destroyed by their strong legs.

Alistair Keen, Head Keeper said: “We are extremely pleased to see the first of the emu chicks hatch and looking healthy.”

“We didn’t expect to have eggs or chicks from the emus this early on, so it is very promising sign that the adults are happy in their environment.”

“This is the first time that we have ever had an emu egg hatch at Birdland, so I have been doing lots of research into raising emu chicks. “It is likely that the third egg will hatch today, so we will have three little chicks needing care and attention,” he added.

Emus are part of the ratite family, along with Rheas and Ostriches. Emu eggs, which are emerald green in colour, have to be incredibly tough to survive in their native Australia. The emu chick will start by pecking a hole in the egg before expanding his body to break the hard, brittle shell.

Two Emu chicks at BirdlandWhen the chicks are fully grown they can reach land speeds of between 20 – 30 miles per hour making them one of the fastest land birds comparable to ostriches.

With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from the UK’s only breeding colony of king penguins and parrots to cassowaries and cranes in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays

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