And of course we can't forget to mention how much fun these birds are to raise......
6-8 month old emu juveniles
Quickly they are moved to larger quarters to provide space for running and outside access in agreeable weather
Then they are moved to a hatcher for 2 or 3 days until chicks emerge and their feathers dry
They are collected soon after laying to maximize cleanliness and identified by breeder, date and weight in grams
Then stored at a cool temperature until a batch size is ready
Housing requirements as mentioned above is a huge investment of time and money when farming emu. If organized properly to accommodate the unique requirements of this livestock, then the remaining six months of the year can be not much more than making a daily visit to monitor the pens.
Mt. Sicker Family Farm has a very busy schedule for the first 6 months of the year. Breeding starts in our geographic location in late December through to April. Chicks will hatch late February through June and all the birds will be in growout pens by end of July when our work is dramatically reduced.
Emus – A Darwinian Wonder
18 month old female ready to breed
Who Who Who Are You - painting by Patricia Hopwood-Wade, Tasmania, AU
Very detailed records are kept of each egg through incubation, hatch and growth of chick
4 day old emu chicks
Emu eggs are layed every 3 or 4 days
Chicks are monitored for mobility and feeding/watering habits.
One of the most frequent questions that we hear is how fast do they grow? That is important to know if one is considering farming emu because it will determine things like feed volumes and housing requirements. Here you will see the progress from a 460 gram (1 lb) new chick at hatch to a 100 lb bird in 18 months at maturity.
Again they are quickly moved to large outside pens to ensure adequate exercise for proper development
Descended from flying dinosaurs, emus evolved to flightlessness and gigantism facilitated by a daily herbivore diet which resulted in a nomadic lifestyle and the necessity to store fat reserves for a backup energy supply. Residents of Australia for 80 million years, emus have been hunted and processed by the Indigenous Australians for over 40 thousand years. They have only been farmed as livestock for 40 years, so emus are truly non-GMO.
Eggs will be incubated for 49 days at 97.5 degrees rotated every 4 hours through 180 degrees
Emus of all ages are entertaining
John and Lois Hellemond © 2018
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