Accidental Zoo welcomes first hatched baby emu in the island

GUERNSEY’S first naturally-hatched emu has arrived safely into the world.

The Accidental Zoo has had its first baby Emu arrive after 64 days of incubation. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29447632)
The Accidental Zoo has had its first baby Emu arrive after 64 days of incubation. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29447632)

The chick hatched earlier this week at the Accidental Zoo, to breeding pair George and Mildred.

They are just some of the 200-odd animals at the zoo, which was founded by the Le Guilcher family at their Castel home two years ago.

Charlotte Le Guilcher said that after 64 days of George sitting on four eggs, the first hatched on Wednesday morning.

‘We heard the cheep first and felt very excited,’ she said. ‘Then we saw the little beak poking out.’

It takes about 10 hours for a chick to fully hatch.

The Le Guilchers were excited to see the healthy chick be born.

‘This is the first natural hatching we have had. And I believe it is a first for Guernsey.

‘It had been a long wait, as it normally takes 56 days of incubation for emu eggs to hatch.

‘We were starting to get a little worried that nothing might happen. But we have had some cold spells recently, so that might have slowed them down.’

George is still sitting on the remaining three eggs.

Mrs Le Guilcher said the adult bird would know when to stop if he could not hear anything from the eggs or if they started going bad.

Emu eggs can hatch five days apart, so she was hopeful they might see more birds.

The zoo already has three adults birds – breeding pair George and Mildred and their adult daughter Willow, which came from the UK last year.

The adult birds are being kept apart from the chick for now, who is still quite wobbly on its legs. It is being given a chick crumb, with some added kale for protein.

Mrs Le Guilcher said George, 'a gentle giant', had been a good dad.

It is not possible to sex chicks easily until they are about a year old, and Mrs Le Guilcher said they were discussing how they would choose a name for it.

Emus can live up to 20 years, meaning taking one on was a big investment. The Le Guilchers said they were planning on keeping the chick.

It is a busy time for the zoo, which recently took on four lambs to bottle feed and could soon get a calf, to keep the calf they have already company.

Mrs Le Guilcher said they were also gearing up for four open days, which are taking place in early May, half of which have already sold out.

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