Emus are large Australian birds from the ratite family. They are naturally inquisitive, and when hand-reared they are generally friendly and will come to be stroked and handled. Despite common myths, emus are no more dangerous than alpacas or 'traditional' farm animals of similar size. Unlike ostriches and cassowaries, they are not aggressive and do not require a Dangerous Wild Animal licence in the UK. Owners should of course be aware that adults with young (in this case, it is the male who incubates the eggs and cares for the chicks) can be protective, and that any big animal that is frightened, trapped, or in pain can inadvertently injure someone trying to help it.
Emus are easy to care for, needing room to run about, access to clean water to drink, and feeding a suitable ratite food which they will supplement with whatever they can forage. In exchange for this they will protect any smaller birds and beasts they share their space with from foxes. In their native Australia, dingoes are predators of emus' eggs and chicks, and adult emus will jump on, trample, and kill any fox they have the opportunity to! Well-socialised emus can be stroked and enjoyed as pets, although you can't put a halter on them take them for a walk. They need good fencing of at least 5 ft in height. Their curiosity can sometimes be a nuisance in that they will likely want to come and see you and have a play with any tools you might bring in even if you are trying to do something and don't want them hanging about! If you are looking for a flock guardian animal who is a bit higher maintenance but not so 'in your face' and has less demanding needs for good fencing, and that you can show and take for walks, have a look at alpacas instead.
Emus are monogamous and should ideally live in opposite-sex pairs or mixed groups if in large paddocks. They should not be kept as more conventional birds are with several females to one male, as the females will fight over the male.
Odette learning about food and water