Large birds wandering down the road can illustrate what can happen when you have inadequate fencing for your emus. A loud noise, a strange animal or a myriad of other things can set an emu into a full-blown rampage. All it takes is a toe hold in the fence and suddenly they have toppled over it and then, they do what they do best… they RUN!
An emu on a busy highway is extremely dangerous. With those long legs if an adult emu is hit by a car at high speeds that bird can end up in the front seat of the car. The impact alone could kill someone. If the bird is not dead, it will start thrashing around inside that car. Flailing its legs can cause considerable damage to anything it comes in contact with, including the driver and his passengers. This is the perfect set-up for a law suit.
If an emu doesn’t end up on the highway, it can still create a lawsuit for its owners with staggering legal fees whether they win or lose the suit.
Once an emu is loose, unless it wanders home on its own, it must be caught in order to return it to its pen. Trying to catch an emu can easily cause injury to those who are not experienced in handling these large birds.
Generally, the farm owner is liable for all injuries and damages caused by their loose livestock unless they can prove that the fence was in good condition and there was no negligence on their part. In most states, it’s a statutory obligation for owners to ensure their animals don’t escape their premises.
A 6’, or higher, 2” x 4” wire mesh Non-Climb Fence or chain link fencing, is considered the best fencing for emus. Many people recommend the 6’ high, dog kennel panels to use for gates. Any fencing with a larger opening can be a “broken neck” accident waiting to happen and 2” X 4” welded wire fencing can break after a time and impale the emu as it rubs against the fence.
REMEMBER….. The extent of your liability depends on where and how your livestock escaped and the cost of proper fencing is always far less than a lawsuit.
Keystone Steel & Wire Co., makers of 2” x 4” steel mesh Square Deal Non-Climb Fence, has a booklet that discusses proper fencing for emus and ostrich.
In this booklet you will find: plans for emu pens, what you will need to build them and “how to” advice. It is listed on this website under RESOURCES and Emu Husbandry.
“Ostrich and Emu Fencing Guide” – https://aea-emu.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/KEYSTONE-RED-BRAND-FENCING-GUIDE-.pdf