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No Eggs!

(Emus, Rheas, Ostriches, Cassowary)

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Robaroo
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No Eggs!

Postby Robaroo » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:46 pm

It's almost Christmas and my emu have produced a pathetic 3 eggs. They seem happy and they're certainly well fed, they hiss and drum constantly. They're clear eyed and their feathers look good. Some of the males are seeking eggs, they root around in the paddock like they dropped a contact lens, but the girls just aren't producing. They're 3 years old, shouldn't they be putting out almost an egg every 3 days? What am I doing wrong?
Trefoil
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Trefoil » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:19 pm

I know nothing about emus. But if it were a chicken or guinea, I would first ask when the last time they were wormed. If this is the time they should be laying eggs and aren't, its either age (not your problem), parasites/health( have they been wormed recently or are they otherwise healthy?) If you haven't wormed them in a while, try worming them and then boosting the protein in their feed for a week or two. Good luck and hopefully one of our Emu people will notice your post and help you out with emu specific information.
Robaroo
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Robaroo » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:52 pm

Thanks Trefoil, we wormed them about 2 months ago, but maybe it didn't take? I'll collect some stool samples and run them over to the lab, maybe that's the answer.
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pat
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby pat » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:45 am

Robaroo

your emu is still young.

most emus begin laying eggs at age 2 or 3 years with about 1-15 eggs.

they can lay eggs every 3-5 days.

maybe she is still young. I don't really know for sure.
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

http://sybilsden.com Sybils Den
Robaroo
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Robaroo » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:25 pm

Thanks Pat, but last year we had a dozen eggs by now. Other people in my area have had success this year, just mine seem to be weird. I'm really worried something is wrong with them.

I had someone tell me that they won't lay if they can see chicks, but the only small emu I have are hatchlings from last year and those are almost full size now. I have to keep them in a separated part of the corral, they get stepped on and shoved too much during feeding time.

I'm really at my wit's end, the vet says the stool is fine.
Trefoil
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Trefoil » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:18 am

I don't know what they eat but try bumping up the protein for a couple of weeks and try the other emu forums. Hopefully one of them will be able to help. It could be just a normal "burp' for your emus, things like that happen just to keep us on our toes.
Robaroo
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Robaroo » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:36 am

Thanks Trefoil, but we're already at 20% soy protein now and 5% fishmeal protein, so I'm reluctant to take them higher than that, as it's already the max of what they're supposed to get. (Or so I read). We did change feeds to a higher, more expensive grade just before egg season, so we figure it must be something about the feed. We'll switch them back to the cheaper stuff and see what happens. The feed company swears what we're buying is the best, but who knows? It may be that they're low on calcium, since that's the one thing that we're having trouble getting hard numbers on for how much is in the feed. Does anyone know if a surplus of calcium would hurt them?
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Trefoil » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:26 am

Other fowl are fed free choice Ca in the form of oyster shell. But I don't know if Ca is harmful in excess.
Robaroo
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Robaroo » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:33 am

They'll actually eat Ca free choice? I'm going to try that tomorrow. They aren't terribly hungry this time of year, they're eating half what they did 3 months ago, so maybe that's the problem. I'll try it and see. Thanks!
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:02 am

Soy could be the problem. Soy has plant estrogen in it. Giving them all that estrogen will lower fertility due to boosting their levels way over normal.
Robaroo
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Robaroo » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:25 am

Hm. Ok, that's a good point too, thanks Tamandua. We'll try lowering the percentage of soy and raising the percentage of other protein. I didn't know soy could do that. I heard that too much is bad for emu, but didn't know why. I guess blood work would reveal if they had elevated levels of estrogen, but that must be expensive. This next round of feed I get made up is going to be different in 2 ways now. At least I'm learning something.
Trefoil
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Trefoil » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:49 am

But you're learning from non emu people, at least me, Aren't there any emu groups? As far as I know, a lack of Ca doesn't result in not laying eggs, it results in weakened bones or laying soft eggs. The same for the soy and lower fertility, they still lay eggs, the eggs are just less likely to be fertile. Changing food can result in a disruption of egg laying, so do it gradually. Do you have a county (or equivalent) government ag agent? Or a agriculture University? Either should be able to help you out, at least in determining if this is something you should be worried about or if its just a normal variation. Again, good luck and I hope you get this worked out.
Robaroo
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Robaroo » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:32 am

Hi Trefoil,

I thought this was the emu group? It's ratites? I'm not posting on the wrong board am I?

There is utterly no local support here, my local vet is ok with coming over to do annual shots but nothing more than that. The local Ag university isn't very helpful and the county government is worse than useless.

I'll be cautious with how fast we change the food. We had good fertility last year, it's just they aren't laying much this year. It's much rainier though, who knows if that's the problem?

I'll see what happens. They aren't in obvious distress and seem helathy and happy, there's not much more I can do.
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:35 pm

Artificial and plant based estrogen can lower sperm count, which would cause the eggs to go unfertilized but it will effect the female too. It can delay, diminish or even stop ovulation(egg production) depending on the exposure, so less eggs less often. It effects birds and fish even more than it effects mammals, it takes less to cause problems. 20% of the diet being soy protein is too much soy for any animal.

I stopped using flax seed because it has the same issue. It and soy have the highest plant estrogen of any plant used for food. Ori hit puberty much to young and is fat, also part of the problem. I also suggested my breeder friend stop using it because she was having a lot of miscarriages.

This is the ratites section just other than Pat none of the other owners have chimed in yet. So I don't know tons about emus but I do know a lot about nutrition in general and that's just too much soy for any critter. At the very least it's not healthy to have that much added hormones and decreased health will mean decreased eggs.

There are even quite a few farms that advertise soy free products because people don't want the eggs, oil, or meat from birds fed soy.
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Re: No Eggs!

Postby Trefoil » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:32 pm

I did find a site that gave feed requirements for emu's
http://www.redoakfarm.com/feed_requirements_for_emu.htm
and also a emu chat list
http://www.blue-mountain.net/chat.htm
There should be some good info on emus in there somewhere.
Note that they are assuming that the emu is only getting this feed, i.e. its a "complete" feed, which is why the protein levels are lower, most of us with pets, free range them to some extent or the other, making the feed we purchase more of a supplement, given to assure that the pet is getting what it requires.

Mary the only study that I could find said that they found no effect on sperm in (people) from soy,BUT, I found in on a "soy" site so am not sure how far I would trust it.

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