Spring chicks believed to be only baby emus in Scotland hatch at a sanctuary in the Scottish Borders

The sanctuary welcomed three baby emus. Credit: ITV Border.

A bird sanctuary in the Scottish Borders has welcomed three emu chicks to its breeding programme.

The baby emus are believed to be the only emu babies currently in Scotland, according to staff at the Bird Gardens Scotland.

The oldest chick is now four-days-old and the youngest just three.

The flightless birds are native to Australia, where they are the largest native bird.

These large, flightless relatives of the ostrich have an average lifespan of 5 to 10 years in the wild, but longer in captivity.

They stand up to 2 metres tall and weigh around 50 to 55 kg.

Although not endangered, their numbers are depleted.

Owen Joiner, Founder and Executive Director of Bird Gardens said: "It's the first batch of emu chicks for the centre.

"This is the first year we’ve been able to hatch some babies, so it’s been great.

"They’re possibly the only emu babies in Scotland at the moment, and it’s amazing to see them being reared."

"Emus breed quite late in the year, and it’s a two month incubation period during the cold, dark days.

"What we did this year was take half the eggs away and incubate them in the heated incubator, and when they began to hatch, we gave them back to the dad," he said.

Owen added: "Meanwhile, he was sitting on a second batch of eggs, which I now have in the incubator to see if they made it through the cold.

"It’s a little precarious right now – if we get frost or rainstorms, it could be difficult for them.

"But they’ll be learning how to walk, how to feed, and how to keep up with dad – learning how to be emus."

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