Emu farming occurs in all states of Australia. In Queensland the industry comes under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This note gives a new entrant to the industry an indication of the physical and financial aspects of emu production. Steps to start an emu farm.
Contact the local shire planning officer with regard to planning requirements and restrictions on land use. Contact the EPA..
Read relevant publications from DPI&F and others for information on production and management. .
Prepare a budget and business plan for the establishment and operation of your emu farm. Consider the factors affecting production and management. .
Visit at least two other licensed emu farms to obtain a range of ideas on different farming practices. Aspects of husbandry and productions
Emu production cycle (see Figure 1)Feeding
A special diet similar to poultry feed specifications, supplemented with farm grown lucerne and other pasture, is fed at each of the different stages of growth.Health and disease
Emus contract similar diseases to poultry and a mortality rate of 7-12% can be expected in emu chicks up to 3 months of age. There is little information at this time on specific diseases of the emu.General site requirementsFarm plan
Farm plans are required to suit each individual situation. When drawing up your plan, you will need to consult information (including any legal requirements and Codes of Practice) on stocking densities and the facilities needed to be incorporated into your plan. Ideas for your farm can also be gained by visiting other farms.
Facilities for the breeding and intensive rearing of emus will need to provide for egg handling and storage, incubation and hatching, plus a brooder house for chicks and rearing pens for young birds.
The free-range breeding and rearing of emus will require extra pens to allow females to be removed while the male is sitting on eggs and to enable the broody male to be isolated from other birds. Interference by other emus can result in egg damage and chick loss. Under free-range systems, additional pens may be required so that the chicks remain isolated from other older birds.Average production figures
The figures presented below should be used as a guide only.
|Age at sexual maturity:
|Number of eggs/year:
||1st year breeders: 8 - 12|
Under Artificial Incubation: 16 - 24
|Male:Female ratio in breeding emus:
||1:1 or 1:2|
||Hatch: 420 g|
3 mths: 8 kg
6 mths: 19 kg
12 mths: 30 kg (slaughter age)
24 mths: 50 kg (breeding age)
Emu products are meat, wet salted skins, oil and eggs for carving.
Established markets for their products have not been developed. The market for feathers, eggs and live emus is inconsistent and cannot be depended upon.