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Sexing Rheas

(Emus, Rheas, Ostriches, Cassowary)

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wrighty
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Postby wrighty » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:14 pm

Gosh WOW thanks for that Pat. :shock: :bear
So Rio is female?? I cant believe it - I suppose that would answer why she (!!) is sooo different in temperament. Sorry for being daft but why is the white rhea soo unique?

Thanks again for your help.

Will keep in touch - I'm hoping I will be able to get on here more often soon.

Carrie x

:D
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pat
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Postby pat » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:49 pm

wrighty,
the males are generally bigger and fuller.
the males also fluff out their fenders and wings.

actually, the males are prettier. too bad they are mean

your male looks like he is mixed with white and grey.
the whites are generally all white with blue eyes.
the greys are generally, all grey with brown eyes.

but, the marking on your male is really pretty.
would love to see more pictures.

glad to hear you will visit us here more often.
there is lots of great info on this board.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

http://sybilsden.com Sybils Den
wrighty
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Postby wrighty » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:31 pm

Thanks Pat for the top tips and for your comments.

I have a few photos here of Ralph (the white) and Rio (just because she is lovely and a real pleasure to have).

Carrie x

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BB
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Postby BB » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:36 pm

They are really nice looking! It amazes me that the males are so aggressive, they look so much more delicate than an emu.
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Postby Chance » Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:33 pm

Haven't been here in a while, but thought I'd chime in again. I don't mean to rain on the good news, but I'm betting both birds are males. The white is definitely male, and the gray has too many "male markings" (all the black on the chest) and too 'masculine' of a head to be female. I could very well be wrong, but I'm betting it's just a more submissive male. When you have more than one male together, you'll often only have one that displays and acts aggressively. The others are submissive and won't show off, lest the draw the ire of the dominant bird. Of course, if you start getting eggs this summer, I'm completely wrong! :)

Your white male is a very nice bird. Genes, unfortunately, don't always work in a very predictable manner. White in rheas is leucism, which isn't the same as albinism but is expressed in generally the same fashion (i.e. you have to have either two white parents, one white parent and one gene carrier, or two gene carriers to get white chicks). Sometimes though the genes that control for the production of all white coloring may malfunction in one place or another in the body, and you end up with a partially leucistic animal. In cases where the normal coloration is predominant with only a few patches of white, we call them pieds or piebalds (like the pied peafowl). In this case, the bird is majoritively white, so I would imagine that when he breeds, he would breed true (as in he would pass on white-only genes). Anyway, that's probably more than you want to know.

Keep us updated on what happens this summer.
Chance Duncan
River Valley Exotics
Ratites and Reptiles
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wrighty
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Postby wrighty » Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:48 pm

WOOOHOOOOOOOO first egg laid by Rio yesterday - similar size to goose egg but yellow!! :lol: So this now answers the question.

Chance - very interesting to read about genes - I prefer grey rheas.......whites TOOOO nasty!!

Thanks guys for all your help.

Carrie x

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Postby BB » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:51 am

Congratulations!!!!!
Keep us updated of the progress!
Are Rheas good parents?
Missy Goose is laying eggs in the moment (started beginning of April) but somehow I know of the outcome.....she never managed......
have fun
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Postby pat » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:08 am

chance,

really good to see you back on the board :bear :bear

we sure missed you..

how are all your birds? are you going to get another cassorwary?

I still didnt' get any emus yet :cry:
I seen about 6 of them at the auciton in March.
but, they looked kind of hyper.

It would have been too hard to bring them home.
at the size, I always fear getting scratched with their claws, mostly because the birds didn't know me.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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Postby pat » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:11 am

wrighty

:bear congratulations :bear

what are you going to do with the eggs? hatch or eat

if hatch, put some straw in their house, with hope, the female might start laying in the straw and the male will sit.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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wrighty
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Postby wrighty » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:03 am

Thanks guys!! :D

I would really ideally like to hatch them but struggling on which incubator is suitable - what do you guys use? I am only thinking about 3 or 4 eggs so not needing a MASSIVE bator.

Here are photos of Rio's eggs.

Carrie x

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Postby pat » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:10 am

I had a bunch of rhea eggs, they are big eggs.
actually, I still have a couple in the refrigertator, trying to make up my mind what do to with them.
they are too old to eat.

I was thinking of blowing them out. (if there is even anything left in it..

I don't know much about incubating. Chance does it alot, he would know.. I have heard people hatch them in a chicken incubator. I also have heard of people making their own.
the ratite incubators are kind of expensive, unless you can find a used one.

please keep us updated on your eggs.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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Postby Chance » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:22 pm

Congrats on getting eggs! I guess that settles the sexing issues :D If you want to incubate them, I suggest you try finding a used ratite incubator, as poultry incubators generally don't offer enough room. I use GQF cabinet style incubators (3' tall, 3' deep, 1.5' wide). Here in Arkansas, we have pretty high ambient humidity, so I just keep a pan of water at the top and let the humidity stay constant. The strays automatically turn through 90 degrees every few hours, but with ratite eggs it's best to turn through 180 degrees as often as possible for as much oxygen exchange as possible. So, I usually will hand turn the eggs one or two times a day in addition to what the incubator does. It's not necessary, but it seems to help. I use a temp of 97.5 F, though 96.5 F is also acceptable. Don't get near the poultry temperatures (in the 99 range), as they're just too high. For rheas, under those conditions, you should hatch chicks within 36-40 days. Of course you could let dad incubate them himself, though his hatch rate might not be as good, as the females will discontinue laying when he stops breeding them to set the eggs. Good luck!

And Pat, the birds are mostly okay. I've had a few rheas die for unknown reasons, and had an emu die a week ago also for unknown rheas. An emu breeder in FL is having a die off from what is probably EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), and I'm hoping my bird deaths are unrelated. I didn't vaccinate them against EEE, but I'm now considering it just to be safe. This guy is probably going to loose his entire flock.

As for the cassowaries - I don't know if I'll ever get any more. That was such a disheartening situation last year, it really makes me double think whether it would be worth it or not.
Chance Duncan

River Valley Exotics

Ratites and Reptiles

http://www.rvexotics.com
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Postby pat » Fri May 02, 2008 9:10 pm

chance,
really great to see you posting again.

I never heard of the EEE disease.
It is so frustraiting when an animal dies, and we don't know why :cry: when I first got emus, I got them from my local zoo.. I got 4 of them and three died. the first one was in its house, and when I found him, there was blood splashed all over the walls. the second and third one died maybe from a mengerie worm. it started getting paralized. it was a nightmare to go thru this. thats when the zoo replaced them with Rocky. he was a great guy.

I can certainly understand why you are hesitant on getting more cassories.

sad about his birds dying. I hope the rest survive.

do you still have your ostriches? if I remember, I thought they both died. what all do you have left now?
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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Chance
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Postby Chance » Sat May 03, 2008 8:23 pm

Yeah, no ostriches. I hatched two a couple years ago, and they both lived a while but died for whatever reason. Last year took the cake though - we hatched one very sweet little female ostrich who would follow us around the field and such. She really imprinted. Here are a couple of pictures of me and her:

Image

Image

She too died for unknown reasons. That's not too surprising, as out of all the ratites, ostriches are probably the most difficult to raise. I've considered giving it a shot again this year, but if I hatched more and the same thing happened, that'd be 3 years in a row. Not a fun prospect to consider. I'm a little hard-headed though when it comes to these birds, so maybe I'll try anyway and put the incubator in a different place to try to lower its humidity.

Right now, my bird flock is down to the following:
2.1 emus (two males, 1 female, the female is the blond hen I have)
1.0 blond emu chick with friggin' leg problems!! arghh!!!!
0.2 rheas
0.0.2 mute swans (unknown sexes, I think they're males)
1.1 Java peafowl
0.2 India blue peafowl
2.2 Mandarin ducks
1.1 Lady Gouldian finches
0.2 Bantam/Cerama Chickens
Chance Duncan

River Valley Exotics

Ratites and Reptiles

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Postby pat » Sat May 03, 2008 10:05 pm

chance,
sad about the ostriches. I have heard that rheas are very fragile within three months of their life.
I tried raising about 6 of them, and they all died. :cry:
(frustrating and expensive) I think rheas are ostriches are similar as far as that goes. I thought the emus were a little more hardier. dont really know, just a guess on my part..

maybe, there just isn't enough information about them.
I don't know..

wow, I didn't know you had all those other birds.

glad to hear you still have some blond emus.
I assume you will try again.

I can undertand your determination for trying again,
if you didn't how would you know.
hopefully, this time it will be better.

I have faith in you...
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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