Emus are about 2-3 times the size of ducks and chickens, so your regular coop will not make do as a shelter for them.
While they do not require sophisticated housing, you must provide sufficient space for them to thrive. But how much space do they need?
How much space does an emu need?
At the least, a pair of emus need 3000 square feet of space. However, some breeders raise emu pairs in 1000 square feet of space.
The area in which emus are housed must be fenced correctly. Also, a shaded feed pen of around 8 square feet may be needed.
In this article, we go over the spatial needs of emus in an enclosure. We talk about the type of enclosure suitable for them, their need for companionship, and much more.
How Much Space Do Emus Need?
Optimally, emu pairs need 3000 square feet of space or higher. But some breeders reportedly offer only 1000 square feet per pair.
The space required by emus is many times higher than the space needed by regular poultry birds like chickens. The massive size difference is primarily responsible for this disparity in space needs.
But beyond that, emus are pretty energetic, so they love running and jumping around. Of course, they need ample space to run and jump all over the place.
Besides a roaming space, a food pen may be necessary when housing emus. You can look to build a shaded food pen with an area of around 8 square feet.
What Type of Enclosure?
Emus do not need a sophisticated enclosure. You could build a lovely shaded barn for them, and they will never step in it. So, when creating a space for emus, only prioritize the essentials.
That being said, emus need an enclosure in a natural, open environment. And as long as the area is fenced correctly, you have nothing to worry about.
Emus will not escape when placed within the appropriate type of fencing system. And since they barely have any predators, you do not have to worry much about their safety.
In an outdoor area with sufficient greenery, they will find seeds, fruits, weeds, herbs, and other greens they can eat. Of course, getting enough to eat will keep them happy.
Besides the greens, emus may also find insects and other invertebrates in this space.
Besides the above, emus are fine sleeping under trees. So, it will be even better if the outdoor space has some trees.
If there are no trees in the provided space, you may want to create a shed or similar shelter for your emus. This is especially vital if the emu fathers will incubate the eggs.
How Tall Should the Fence Be? (Can They Jump a Fence?)
Emus can jump a fence if the fence is not tall enough. This is not surprising since they can jump as high as 7 feet off the ground.
When fencing your emu’s enclosure, the fence should be at least 6 feet tall. Some breeders even prefer to let theirs stand at about 8 feet as a precaution.
Naturally, emus will not seek to escape if they are happy in their enclosure. But without a fence in place, there would be no limit within which they can roam. Besides, when they are startled or being chased, they may try to jump over the fence.
What Kinds of Fence?
You can house emus with the following types of fences:
Deer fencing is a decent option if you must fence a large area for your emus and are worried about costs. It is relatively inexpensive, and it works pretty well.
Electric fences are dubbed to be the best for enclosing emus. But some people do not recommend them because emus get some insulation from their feathers, making the electric shock from the fence less effective. Thankfully, one can get around this by using a fence charge with low impedance.
If you have emu chicks in the space, you should avoid using an electric fence. Emu chick plumage is not as developed as that of adults. So, they are more prone to electric shock.
If you have an existing fence, you can make it somewhat electric. You only have to add an electrified wire at the top and the outside bottom. The wire at the top keeps the birds in, and the one at the bottom keeps intruding animals out.
What Kind of Fence Should You Not Use for Emus?
In all you do, never fence your emus in with barbed wire. The birds may get severely injured if caught in a barbed-wire fence.
You should also not use fences whose wires only run across. Such kinds of fencing are pretty much useless as the birds can fit through the gaps easily.
Do Emus Need to Be In Pairs?
In the wild, emus are typically solitary. They may exhibit social behaviors and move together during migration, but they fancy solitude for the most part. So, you may think they do not need to be in pairs.
However, according to Backyard Poultry, raise no less than two emus. Emus are possibly more sociable when domesticated, so they may need a pal. They have even been noted to call out for each other when paired.
Besides, if you intend to breed emus, you obviously need a male and female emu pair.
Do They Need Shelter?
Emus need shelter to protect them from the elements. Ordinarily, they are fine roaming around in an open space. But if the sun gets too hot, it rains heavily, or the weather becomes too cold, they may be exposed to weather hazards.
Shelters for emus should be well-ventilated, shaded, and sufficiently spacious. An emu shelter should also contain a heat source to keep the birds warm in winter. Then in summer, there should be an accessible water source.
While emus can resist intense cold, they should be kept dry under these conditions or they may suffer from frostbite. Also, while emus have feathers that protect them from the sun, they need ready access to water.
Prepare to provide at least 3000 square feet of space for each pair of emu you intend to raise.
Ensure the area is well-fenced; do not use barbed-wire fencing – electric fencing or field fencing are better options.
While emus are fine living in an open space, you should provide shelter for them from harsh elemental conditions.