What is emu farming

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Few people can answer what is emu farming - or what is an emu!

An emu is a bird that is from the ratite family of birds which includes the emu, the ostrich, kiwi, rhea and cassowary. Emu is pronounced "e-moo" if you’re from the U.S. and "e-mew" if you hail from Australia. The emu is native to Australia.

The word ratite means “raft” in Latin. This term is used because these birds have flat breastbones so they can’t fly. There are no muscles that would allow them to use their wings for flight. There is also no breast meat on a bird from the ratite family.

When an emu is born it is striped until it is three months old when it turns chocolate brown. When it is a year old, it changes colors once again when it loses its neck feathers. The feathers become a mottled color and the neck turns blue or indigo.  Males and females are the same color.

At maturity, an emu can weigh as much at 150 pounds and stand six feet tall.

Emu farming is considered a “farm to finish” operation meaning that the farmer raises the bird, makes the arrangements for processing of the bird and then takes care of the production of the products, after which he sells them. Products that come from emu include feathers, pure emu oil products, leather, meat, oil products, claw, bones and eggs

Emu farming is an alternative form of agriculture and allows farmers and their families to make money and hang onto their farm. Raising emus allows the farmer to make money on a small amount of acreage.

The emu is resilient so it hardly ever succumbs to disease. The emu can tolerate scarcity of water, very hot weather and is not at risk for contagious diseases and infections. Every part of the bird’s body is commercially important. Emu meat is eaten and some think it is the food of the future. The flesh is pliable and has a lot of iron in it. The oil that is taken from emu fat is used for medicinal purposes. The skin can be used for decorative purposes. It is very soft and can be dyed to any color.

Benefits of having an emu farm include the fact that the bird is gentle and won’t attack humans. They do not require special housing nor do they need a lot of land to live on. One hundred fifty birds can live on one acre of land.

Emu can range freely in a fenced in area or they can be kept in pens. When allowed to roam, they forage for their food are only have to be given small amounts of additional food.  Those birds that are going to be slaughtered are given for food the last few months before slaughter.

Feed and production costs are not high on an emu farm.

Breeding emus are paired off in small areas. The emu eggs are collected for incubating, most of the time. When the eggs are removed, this encourages the laying of more eggs. The emu chicks have a better chance of survival when incubated.

Emu eggs can be used to create works of art. The eggs are blown out and cleaned before sold for this purpose.

Emu oil reportedly relieves arthritic joint pain as well a muscular pain. The oil is used on wounds and also helps correct skin disorders that are the result of a harsh climate. The oil absorbs deeply into the skin and also has a skin-building effect. It is considered an anti-aging oil. Emu oil that is ingested drops cholesterol levels and provides pain relief as well as works as an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic. The oil helps the body heal itself.

If you are a farmer who needs to figure out an alternative type of farming or you have some property that is not being used, consider starting an emu farm.

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