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Sexing Rheas

(Emus, Rheas, Ostriches, Cassowary)

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wrighty
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Sexing Rheas

Postby wrighty » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:46 am

Hi all,

Not been on here for a while but I did manage to buy Rio (my handreared grey Rhea) a friend....well a white rhea friend!
Anyway they are now about 7 months old and wondering whether anyone could give me any tips on sexing them.

I could take some photos of them if this would help.

Anyway thanks in advance,
Kind regards
Carrie x
:bear
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pat
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Postby pat » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:29 pm

The males are generally bigger than the females.

The males will fluff out their feathers and are very beautiful when they do this..

but, my experience with male rheas are not a good one.
The males are very aggressive at maturity. especially if there are other rheas..

Send a picture if you can, maybe we can tell what the sex is..
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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Postby ruscithil » Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:07 pm

The colouring helps in sexing rheas. However, I don't think this works with white rheas.

I'll attach a picture of our pair. The one on the right is the female. The male is darker on the top of his head and the lower part of his neck.


Concernig the aggression: Our male is hand-raised, too. It is very important not to provoke him when he first comes into the mood of being aggressive (we did, because we thought it was funny...). It is best to hide your hands, because then, he doesn't know where to attack. This does not work, however, once he recognizes you as someone who provoked him.

Should he still come, running toward you with his beak open, it is best to run away, out of eyesight (behind a near bush - or, if possible, out of their pen) But don't forget how fast they can run!
If you cannot run away, catch him by the throat, directly under his beak, between your thump and index finger (loosely, do not squeeze his throat) with your arm stretched from your body. He cannot harm you thus (except your sleeve, or, if you are unlucky, the skin of your wrist), and it is not very difficult to hold him as he just keeps running against your hand.

At least, this works perfectly with our male when he is in an aggressive mood. But he is only two and a half years old, now. Maybe they get worse when they are older...
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Postby pat » Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:53 pm

ruscithil

I didn't know you had rheas.. or maybe I forgot.

I never provoked my males at all. they just got aggressive on their own.. seems the white was worse than the grey though. I would not go in the pen with them. hubby use to throw a feed bag over his head before he can even go in the pen. gave him enough time to feed them till the male rhea got the bag off :lol:
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wrighty
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Postby wrighty » Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:29 pm

Wow thank you so much for your replies - I didnt think I'll get such a response! :D
Thanks also for the photos - can these colour differences be seen at 7 months of age? I really am quite concerned about the aggression. Rio seems so inquisitive and friendly, I cant imagine him/her to be grumpy. I will certainly get some photos for you asap.

As for Ralf (the white rhea) he/she is a little nervous of humans so it might be a blessing to have him come close enough to touch him!! :lol:

Thank you again,
Kindest regards
Carrie xx
:D
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Postby Chance » Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:38 pm

You probably won't be able to get an accurate idea of the sex of your rheas for another several months. Ratites are only sex-able when they're chicks or when they're mature adults. Adult rheas are more or less sexually dimorphic, with the males being larger and usually more colorful. Males also, as the others have described, certainly are more territorial than females. However, each bird is an individual, and some males never become aggressive at all. Others are aggressive all year round, and still others are aggressive only during breeding season.

I personally love having rheas around, even if the males can be testy at times. They're so much more....graceful...than emus. The only real downside to them is that they are extremely scared of dogs, and will run themselves to death if being harassed by a dog. The biggest, meanest male rhea turns chicken (no pun intended) when a dog is around. I don't even want to think about how many rheas I've lost thanks to dogs. So watch that aspect.

Good luck with your birds. Hopefully you luck into a sexual pair! If not, I'll be producing chicks here in another couple of months. Just something to think about.
Chance Duncan
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Postby ruscithil » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:47 am

7 months may be a little early for sexing, especially when they were raised by different breeders. Our males had stronger legs than the females. They were also a little taller. But they kept us speculating for a long time. The colouring changed much later.
We were not sure about their sexes until they were at least 12 months old, possibly a little older even.



pat:

Yes, we do have rheas. But they were raised with little knowledge by their breeder, kept in a small enclosure and fed with the wrong food, so the two that survived until now are not very healthy. The male has a hip problem and the female didn't grow at all for a long time. We feed them a special diet we get from a zoo, now.

pat wrote:I never provoked my males at all. they just got aggressive on their own.. seems the white was worse than the grey though. I would not go in the pen with them. hubby use to throw a feed bag over his head before he can even go in the pen. gave him enough time to feed them till the male rhea got the bag off :lol:


Ours got aggressive on their own, too, but when we first noticed, we laughed about it and had a lot of fun in making them attack...

But as I said, they seem to regard even seeing your arms as provoking. At least, if I keep my arms at my body, our male doesn't attack me. I can walk by him without any problem unless he is in an extremely aggressive mood which is very rare. When he sees my father - who does not hide his hands - he tries to attack him, so my father does the same as your husband: he puts a feed bag over his head.

edit: On second thought, our arms-hiding strategy may only work if the animal regards you as one of their own. They must consider your arm as a neck and head. Maybe this will only work with hand-raised rheas.



Chance wrote:The only real downside to them is that they are extremely scared of dogs, and will run themselves to death if being harassed by a dog. The biggest, meanest male rhea turns chicken (no pun intended) when a dog is around. I don't even want to think about how many rheas I've lost thanks to dogs. So watch that aspect.


As ours grew up with dogs, they get along alright. If anything, I have to fear for the dogs. And our male gets really mad when he sees our fox. At least once he attacked one of our border-collies while the dog was wallowing (it may have been close to a place he considered his nest, though), so I had to interven before anything happened to either of them.
Most of the time, the dogs and rheas ignore each other. That is, the female may run away when a dog gets too close and the path is narrow, but she stops after a few steps and allows the dog to run past her.

So if you have a dog it might be best to carefully get them used to each other as long as the rheas are still young.
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Postby wrighty » Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:57 am

Once again - thank you all! :D

Thanksfully I dont have a problem with the dogs bothering them as the rheas are soo used to them - Rio, as a chick, used to snuggle into my tibetan terriers fur and they used to get on great..........although Digits (the tibetan) not too keen now that he is so much bigger than she is!! :lol:

Ive attached some piccys of her!!

Will get some recent photos of Rio and the white rheaas I feel it will probably be the white who will be the harder to sex.

xx
:D
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Postby Cutitdead » Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:22 am

Zoogen can determine the sex for you with a spot of blood, the egg shell, and even feathers.

www.zoogen.biz

I had had them sex emus from the egg, and they fax you the results
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Postby pat » Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:49 am

those pictures with your dog and rheas is absolutly cute.

I hope they get along as the rheas get older.

My dogs were fine with my rheas for awhile. actually, the mean male rhea knocked one of my dogs over. (he was a big dog too)

then after I got rid of the agressive males, my one coonhound decided to kill the rheas. one dog starts and the others join in :cry:

electric fence at the bottom of the pen cured that though.
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Postby Chance » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:47 pm

It certainly helps to raise the birds around things with which they would otherwise have problems. I guess I should've ammended my earlier post to say that my birds have not been raised around dogs. That's why I try to keep them with emus any time I can. You actually have to do the same thing with emus, ostriches, and rheas, but for the opposite reason - so that they won't try to kill the dog/other animal if it approaches or enters the pen. My emus go after squirrels or rabbits if they make the mistake of going in their pens! I've never seen them nail one, but I doubt it'd be a pretty sight.
Chance Duncan

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Ratites and Reptiles

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wrighty
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Postby wrighty » Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:40 pm

Hi guys - hope you are all well.

Well thought I would update you with whats been happening on the rhea front. Ralph the white rhea, is definitely male - he is very aggressive now and booms all the time...I am covered in bite marks!! :lol:
Anyway I still am not sure about Rio as he/she is not aggressive and does not boom. I have attached some photos - does anyone else know?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Kind regards
Carrie x

:D
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Postby BB » Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:23 am

Hi,
what beautiful birds you have! I love the photos with your dog when they were young - amazing!!
Sorry, can't help you with the sexing though....
(just looking at the photo the white one looks male and Rio seems female, but that's just guessing :? )
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Postby wrighty » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:05 am

Thanks BB for your comments. I'm starting to wonder whether perhaps Rio is a female as he/she is nothing like meany Ralph!!

Anyone else have any ideas? Would be much appreciated.

Carrie x
:D

ps. writing this with yet another bite mark...........................
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Postby pat » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:59 am

wrighty

the two tone one (which is so beautiful and unique)
is a male. the other is a female.

the females are generally smaller and not agressive.

I hope your male don't get more agressive. they can really put a hurten to ya.. mine bit a part of my thumb off.

one of my friends was trying to pet him, from the other side of the fence.. my friend looked like he was in a couple bar fights.

but, the male you have is so unique, I never seen one marked like that..

thanks for the update, and keep in touch..
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