A Quick Guide to Raising Emu
As one of the newer livestock industries in North America, raising Emu presents a variety of benefits and can be quite simple, as Emu are easily manageable. Emu aren’t known to show aggression toward humans and do not require special housing for milder climates, making them a safe choice with low maintenance.
There are a few ways to start raising your own emu. Some methods may be more beneficial than others. Depending on your preference, you can choose to start your emu farm in one of the following ways:
- Buying Eggs – Requiring the least amount of money to start, buying eggs can be inexpensive, but you won’t be able to start production for two years.
- Sexed Chicks – To avoid hatching problems, you can purchase chicks that are 8 weeks or older. This method is a bit more expensive than eggs and still requires two years before production.
- Juveniles – By purchasing emu one year and older, you can select quality birds to yield better results.
- Breeders – You can start production immediately by purchasing proven breeders. While this method is more expensive, you can ensure breeding and get started right away.
Make sure you are well read on the subject prior to purchasing your emu. You’ll want to be cautious when buying breeding adults, making sure they are indeed breeders. Also, the worth of your own emu farm depends on the area you live and the cost to feed and maintain your emu.
Housing Your Emu
While emu may be more easily managed than other animals, they still require proper housing in order to stay healthy and be raised properly. Emu should be protected from harsh weather conditions. Depending on the climate, a three-sided shelter is adequate. They also need a pen measuring at least 15’ by 100’ for a breeding pair. For emu grow-out, a pen of 1 acre per 50 birds is sufficient, however manure needs to be frequently removed and pen properly maintained. The pasture should be enclosed by a fence at least 5 feet in height.
After hatching, Emu chicks should be raised in heated brooder area up to 16 square feet per 10 chicks and remain there for the first two weeks. After two weeks, the chicks can be moved to larger heated area. As they grow to 4-6 weeks old, the chicks can be allowed access to outdoor runs or pasture.
It is important to supply your emu with clean water at all times, and provide them with feed containing essential amino acids, minerals and protein. As Emu chicks require more care in the beginning stages, their diet must be more closely controlled as well. In the first three weeks, chicks should have heat and food available at all times, yet too high of a level of protein can lead to weight problems and leg weakness. It is recommended that chicks are given feed containing approximately 20% protein.
While it is said that Emu generally require less maintenance than other animals, proper care for Emu and high-yields of production requires a higher level of work and should not be taken lightly. If you are interested in raising Emu and benefitting from their meat, feathers, oils, and more, browse our blog for tips in addition to performing in-depth research.