We have been raising rhea here at Parrotshome4life for almost 16 years.We have both gray and white rhea at our farm, however, the majority of our rhea are white. Over the years, we have raised thousands of birds and gained invaluable knowledge. Please use the information we have posted on our website to successfully raise your rhea.
Rheas are natives of the grasslands and brushy regions of South America. They are found in eastern and central Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Central Argentina.
Rheas are members of the zoological superorder that also includes the ostrich, emu, cassowary, and kiwi, which are collectively known as ratites. All of these birds share in common small or rudimentary wings and a breastbone with no keel. The adult birds are a slate gray color with black on the head, neck, and between the shoulders. The male has more black coloration between the shoulders at the base of the neck. Rheas can also be white in color and sometimes even pure white. This color mutation has been propagated in captivity and is now quite common. The adult birds stand about 5 feet tall and weigh between 60 and 70 pounds. The male is the larger of the two sexes.
Rheas are polygamous-polyandrous, which means that the roles of the males and females are reversed in regards to incubation of eggs and rearing of young. Rheas are mainly grazers and consume large quantities of grass, clover, dandelions, and other broad-leaf weeds. They will also eat small eggs, insects, earthworms, and small snakes.
The pictures below show the size of a rhea egg in relation to a chicken egg. Blown rhea eggs are popular for egg painting and carving. Our eggs are professionally drilled and double rinsed. Our blown rhea eggs are for sale. Please contact us for pricing.
The following six photos show how to hatch a rhea egg. The first step is to be patient! This process will take at least a day to complete. The egg is candled in order to find location where the chick has pipped the inner membrane. By allowing the chick to pierce the inner membrane this will minimize any bleeding of the membrane. The spot is then marked with a X. Then, at the X, the shell is broken away to the extent of the air space remaining in the shell. Do not tear away the membrane any more than the chick already has. If too much of the membrane is torn while it is still wet, excessive bleeding will occur which weakens the chick and can be fatal to the chick.
Once the shell is broken away, the egg is placed back in the hatcher for approximately 12 hours. Remove the egg and spray the membrane with a fine mist of water. Gently peel the membrane back to the line of the already broken shell. Gently grasp the chick's beak and pull the head and neck out of the shell. Place the egg back in the hatcher and allow the chick to complete hatching on its own. Allowing the chick to struggle to hatch will ensure that the remaining yolk sack is completely pulled inside the chick's belly.
Rhea chicks are hatched in redwood incubators used as hatchers. Eggs are moved from the incubator to the hatcher at 35 days and are no longer turned. Eggs normally hatch at 36-38 days.
The most important thing for rhea chicks is to have a golden retriever guard dog. Forget those Great Pyrenees!! Golden Retrievers Rule!!
In our experience, the keys to healthy rhea chicks are plenty of exercise, limited feed, and plenty of sunshine!