Table of Contents
Journal of Animals
Volume 2014, Article ID 938327, 8 pages
Research Article

Understanding the Behavior of Domestic Emus: A Means to Improve Their Management and Welfare—Major Behaviors and Activity Time Budgets of Adult Emus

1Southern Research and Outreach Center, University of Minnesota, Waseca, MN 56093, USA
2Avian Research Centre, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
3Animal Science Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA

Received 22 August 2014; Revised 29 September 2014; Accepted 14 October 2014; Published 5 November 2014

Academic Editor: Tetsuya Matsuura

Copyright © 2014 Deepa G. Menon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Information on domestic emu behavior is sparse and hence a study was undertaken to identify and describe the behavior of domestic emus in a farm setting. The behavioral repertoires, activity time budgets, effect of time of the day, sex, weather, and relative humidity on activities of adult emus were investigated. Eight randomly selected emus were observed using one-zero sampling method for 12 days, each period of observation lasting 30 minutes. The major behavioral categories identified were ingestive drinking, standing, locomotion, grooming, socialization, vocalization, and resting. The emus spent most of their time walking, standing, and eating. Immediately after moving to a new pen, emus were found to huddle together to keep away from emus already resident in the pen. The time spent on each activity was not significantly different between the sexes. The findings from this study provided important information on the behavior and activities of emus. The observed behaviors need to be further examined to assess their relations to the birds’ welfare.