Emu is a large sized poultry bird of ratite group and do have high economic value. They produce eggs, meat, oil, skin and feathers. They can adopt themselves to almost any type of climatic conditions. Emu can be raised in both extensive and semi intensive farming systems. USA, AUS and China are the leading countries in raising these birds. The basics includes feeding, housing, breeding, care, diseases and nature of the birds.
Benefits of Raising Emu
- The meat is very healthy and tasty. It is lower in fat and cholesterol and high in protein and energy.
- Their products like eggs, meat, skin, oil and feathers have a high value in the market place.
- Emus require less food than other poultry.
- They can easily be raised with other livestock animals and poultry birds.
- Disease is less in emus and they can survive in almost any type of climatic conditions.
- Raising them does not require high technical and management knowledge.
The major component to raising these birds successfully is land.
Select a suitable land/location for raising the birds. When selecting the land, consider some important factors. These include availability of fresh and clean water, good and nutritious food source, availability of labor, medication facilities, transportation system and a suitable market near your farm.
Keep the chicks inside the incubator for their first 2 to 3 days after they hatch. This will help them dry properly and for quick absorption of the yolk. After that keep them in deep litter floor house. 4 square feet space is required per chick for their first 3 weeks. Keep the brooding temperature of 90F for the first 10 days and reduce to 85F till their 3-4 weeks of age.
Proper temperature management play a very important role for rearing the chicks. Under the brooder, keep a sufficient number of feeders and water bowls. To avoid straying and jumping of chicks, make a chick guard of at least 2.5 feet height. Keep a bulb inside the brooder shed burning all time. A 40 watt bulb is sufficient for covering 100 square feet area. Extend the brooder area of chicks after 3 weeks by widening the chick guard circle. Feed the chicks a starter mash for about 14 weeks. The chicks require sufficient space for proper growth and a healthy start to life. Generally 30-40 square feet of floor space is suitable for raising about 40 chicks. The floor must be free from dampness and easily drained. Always be very careful to never over crowd the pen.
Emus are a large sized bird. They need big waterers, feeders and sufficient floor space. Keeping male and female birds is a good idea. Identify sexes and keep them separate from each other. Make a good litter inside the house to manage a fresh and dry condition. Feed the birds grower mash for about 34 weeks. Along with the grower mash add about 10% greens. Provide them a sufficient amount of food and fresh water according to their demand. In the grower stage, provide 40-100 square feet space for 40 birds. Never keep the chicks or young birds with adult emus unless they hatched the chicks themselves.
Generally, the birds are mature at 18 to 24 months of age. For proper breeding keep the male and female ratio to 1:1. 2500 square feet floor space is required for every pair during mating. For inducing mating and providing privacy you can plant trees and shrubs in the outside run. Add more vitamins and minerals to their food about 3-4 weeks before the breeding campaign. This will ensure better fertility and hatch-ability of the birds. During the mating period, food intake is reduced drastically. A female lays about 15 eggs during her first year and this number gradually increases as she gets older. They lay eggs for the first time when they reach one and half years of age. The eggs are like tough marble and are of a greenish color. An emu egg has a 52 day incubation period. Proper temperature and moisture control management is very important for hatching the eggs.
Like other birds and animals emus also need nutritious and balanced diet for proper growth and reproduction. Good and high quality foods also keep the birds healthy and disease free. Along with good and nutritious food provide them sufficient amount of clean and fresh water regularly.
Care & Management
Emus are very strong birds and live for long time. Mortality rate and other health problems are less in emus than other poultry. Chicks and juveniles may suffer from coli infections, clostridial infections, intestinal obstruction, leg abnormalities, malnutrition and starvation. The main causes of these types of health problems are genetic disorders, improper handling, improper brooding or malnutrition and stress. Emus also get infected by some other health problems and diseases like aspergillosis, ascarid infestations, candidiasis, coccidiosis, lice, rhinitis and salmonella. You can apply ivermectin for preventing internal and external worms. Vaccinate the birds in a timely manner