Not Enough Access to Water
- Although the yoke from the egg will nourish the emu chick for several days, it will need access to fresh water the day after it is born. Without enough water, the chick will reduce its feed consumption. Water transports nutrients throughout its body and helps detoxify it. Electrolytes and vitamin B can also be added to the water for the first two weeks of life to help ensure proper development.
The Chick is Sick
- Refusing to eat can be a sign that the chick is not healthy. Sometimes, they are born with protruding navels, which are highly susceptible to infection. Check the navel for smelly or fluid discharge. The emu must pass a dark green stool within five days of birth. The absence of the stool indicates that it is not eating the yolk. Antibiotics or surgery must be conducted to save the chick. Another sign of an unhealthy chick is if it walks around with its head down or eyes closed frequently.
Improper Feeding Routine
- Chicks must be fed twice a day. A chick may stop eating if fed excessively. Also, do not put the feed under the heat lamp, as it can destroy nutrients and make it unpalatable for birds. When changing what you feed the chick, do so gradually. Abruptly switching feed types can cause the chick to go "off-feed." Do not give the chick chopped green and feed crumbles until four days after it is born, as it will not be ready to eat it before then.
- If the emu chick stops eating, it is also important to check it for injury. It could have sustained injury during the hatching process or interaction with other chicks. Look it over for open cuts or lacerations. If you find any, spray it with "blue-kote" or another iodine treatment. If you can't find any visible marks, observe how it moves. If it limps or is lethargic, it may be a sign of physical injury. If this is the case, giving it time to heal in a safe environment may be the only solution.