So, How Long Will an Emu Egg Take to Hatch?

I never thought it would happen, but lately, emus are getting very popular in the US. Lots of folks are interested in these gigantic birds as pets and also as money makers since they produce many valuable products.

emu eggs
emu eggs

And if you’ve got some skill and experience taking care of other poultry, emu aren’t that much different aside from their sheer size. You can even hatch your own chicks from an egg with the right incubator setup, making it possible to start from zero and grow your own flock. So, how long does it take an emu egg to hatch?

Emu eggs take about 55 days to hatch, on average. They may hatch a little earlier or a little later, but the process usually takes no less than 7 weeks.

Emus, in accordance with their size, take a whole lot longer to incubate, develop, and hatch compared to chickens and even other large poultry species like turkeys.

Accordingly, you’ve got to be prepared for a long wait while keeping a diligent watch on the egg and maintaining correct conditions. There’s a lot more that you’ll want to know, and I’ll tell you about it in the rest of this article…

Why Do Emu Eggs Take So Long to Hatch?

Emu eggs take so long to hatch because emu chicks take a very long time to develop. Or at least, very long compared to chickens.

At birth, an emu chick weighs a little over a pound, but over the course of the following year that chick will grow into a 6-foot tall, 130-pound bird that looks more like a dinosaur than common birds as we know them.

Compare this with a chicken chick which will rarely weigh more than 38 grams upon hatching, and very few chickens will ever weigh more than 12 pounds as adults.

Like most animals, the larger they are, the more time they require in gestation, and the same goes for birds. Accordingly, emu chicks must incubate and develop for quite a long time.

What’s the Earliest an Egg Will Hatch?

The very earliest you should expect an emu egg to hatch, if it’s healthy, is 51 days. It’s fairly rare, but not unheard of for them to hatch a little earlier, though.

What’s the Longest that It Could Take for an Emu Egg to Hatch?

The longest that an emu egg should take to hatch is 60 days, or about 2 months. Any longer than that and chances are there’s a serious problem, especially if there are no indications of activity from the chick inside the shell.

Can You Candle an Emu Egg to Check How Far Along It Is?

No, unfortunately. Emu eggs are simply too thick and opaque to be candled in any way. Even a powerful flashlight will not illuminate the inside of an emu egg.

But, here’s a pro tip: after week five, try whistling to the egg. The chick inside might respond by moving around, and you’ll be able to feel it! If it doesn’t, don’t despair; some of them just won’t even though they are perfectly healthy.

Do You Need a Special Incubator for Emu Eggs?

Yes, but it’s mostly a matter of size and little else. Although most chicken egg incubators can reach the necessary temperature and humidity for incubating an emu egg, they aren’t big enough to safely and securely hold one, much less multiple!

emu seen from the back
emu seen from the back

Do Emu Eggs Need Turning During Incubation?

Yes, they do! And frequently for that matter.

An emu egg must be turned at least twice a day during incubation. And yes, that’s twice a day, every day for the duration. This means that compared to chicken eggs, emu eggs need quite a lot of interaction if you want the chicks inside to develop properly…

However, during the final 7 to 9 days of development, they should be left alone and still. Nonetheless, you’ll be moving them frequently the rest of the time.

How Long Does It Take for an Emu Chick to Pip and Hatch?

Actual pipping and hatching might take several days after it has initiated, averaging 2 or maybe 2 ½ for completion. Before that, you’ll actually be able to hear an emu chick vocalizing inside the shell, and even detect movement readily.

However, compared to chicken chicks, baby emus pop out of the shell very precocial, and they quickly get their bearings, stand up, and start moving around. In the wild, they’re ready to leave the nest in just a few days on short forays.

How Long Do Emu Chicks Need to Stay in a Brooder?

Even though emu chicks are hatched more developing capable compared to chicken chicks, they should still go into a brooder for maximum safety and good health.

Generally speaking, you want to keep your emu chicks in a warm, temperature-controlled environment that’s safe from drafts for at least 6 weeks after hatching.

This time can be shortened if the weather outside is warm and amicable, but should be extended if the weather is very cold or you’re dealing with lots of precipitation.

Will Emu Eggs Hatch Quicker if Sat on by a Male?

No. Emu eggs will still take anywhere from 51 to 60 days to hatch whether or not you’re doing it yourself in an incubator, or if their dad is diligently sitting on them and your enclosure or out in the wild. This is just how long they take to develop.

And before you ask, no, that isn’t a misprint: with emus, it’s actually the dads that sit on and incubate the eggs and care for the young after hatching… Mom may stick around or she may not, but left their own devices, she’ll typically lay a clutch of eggs with multiple dads. You might say she gets around!

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