Starting a Emu Farm

Before starting an Emu farm, you should understand some of the basic things. A good planning is required. First of all decide the land. The land should be preferably dry, non-water clogging area. Before bringing the Emu, plant some trees for shade in the border of the fence, plan the layout, with separate place for various age birds, storage of feed, watering area, incubator / hatching unit.
Purchase of birds can be started in any of the following ways.

  • Buy eggs and hatch chicks – Require the least capital initially, provided eggs can be obtained at reasonable cost. However production is at least 2 years away.
  • Buy started, sexed chicks (8 weeks) – Reduces the problems involved is hatching and early brooding. It can be more expensive than eggs. Again, production is at least 2 years away.
  • Buy Juveniles (year – old birds) – Offers the opportunity to select birds within a year of sexual maturity.
  • Buy proven breeders – The expensive route, but enables the producer to begin production immediately. Disadvantage of purchased mature breeding pair is higher investment, immediate hatching cost, and no knowledge about pairing and less experience with the birds.
  • Buy combination of above – In general, ideally purchase Emu chicks of 3 – 4 months old. Chicks of this age have excellent livability and very less mortality.

Average production figures

The figures presented below below should be used as a guide only
Age at sexual maturity: 2 years
Number of eggs/year: I st year breeders: 8-12
Under Artificial Incubation:16-24
Male: Female ratio in breeding Emus: 1:1 or 1:2
Weights at: Hatch: 420 g
3 mths: 4-5 kg
6 mths: 14-16kg
12 mths: 20-22kg (slaughter age)
24 mths: 40Kg (breeding age)

Facilities – Land, Fencing and Shelters

The facilities required to establish a small Emu farm or ranch are minimal. Emus can be successfully raised in small pens or large pasture or a combination of the two. Fencing can be chain link 2 inch by 4 inch wire. The recommended height in 5 to 6 feet for adult bird, for small birds, 3 feet height chain link (2 inch by 2 inch wire) is preferred.

Breeder pens

One breeder pair of Emu can be adequately maintained in a pen 25 feet by 60 or 10 feet/100 feet with an 8 feet by 8 foot shelter, covered on two or three sides.

Colony pens

Stocked with between 5 to 10 pairs of Emu breeder in 100 feet X 100 feet area. Farmers are run colony pens during the summer and moving the breeder pen into smaller pen 25’ X 60’ when breeding season approaches.

Grow out pens

Chicks of 2 to 3 months and above of a similar size are kept from 20 to 50 birds in 50 feet X 100 feet area they are ready to transport to a processing (slaughter) facility.

Chick runs

The chick is moved to a chick run any the tape in removed at 4 days old, it stays in this run until it is 2 – 3 months old. During the day, ft the weather in not too cold or windy, we open the outside doors and let the chicks roam the outside run. The inside run in covered with straw which is changed as necessary. Newly hatched chicks, maintain temperature of 90 to 95oF. The brooder boxes for chicks 1 to 3 days old should be about 1 feet height and 2 X 3 or 3 X 4 feet in area per 10 chicks.

Handling of Emu birds

Handling of Emus may be necessary for the reasons of moving the birds from one location to another, identification, sexing, or medicating bird etc. Emus are usually docile and non-aggressive.

Wing hold method

The most common way to handle adult size birds in to approach the bird quietly (walk don’t run), once you are close enough, grab it quickly and firmly from the side or behind by both wings. Allow the bird to get over its fright by letting it jump up or down a little while still keeping your hold on it. Then, if your purpose in catching the bird is to move it somewhere, propel it forward while moving behind or alongside it (still retaining your grip on the wings) so that the bird’s energy in used for forward motion rather than jumping in attempts to escape. The best time of day to handle Emus in early morning or late evening.

Dog collar & Leash method

An easy way to make the collar in by using 2 large dog collars clipped end to end to make a large collar. A leash can be fastened to one of the rings. Catch the bird and place the collar over its head. Slide the collar to just in front of the drums and make sure it is behind the wings.