Of the three, ostriches are the most aggressive and it is for this reason many people choose emus. These will take 1 ½ years to reach maturity and be ready for slaughter. This will provide you with 30 lbs of lean meat, which if you compare this with cattle, the time is about the same but the meat is much less as with a steer you are looking at about 500lbs of meat in the same time frame.
Don't be put off by that fact though. Emu farming, was once seen as a lifeline for the struggling farmer or homesteader. Then is so often the case, many people jumped on the bandwagon and bought emus. Some of these were even venture capitalists who thought emu farming was the next 'big thing'. There were reports of a pair of breeding emus sold for $45,000 in the mid 90s. You can see that for some it looked like easy money, but we farmers know when it comes to farming, it isn't always as straight forward as it looks. All three require space as they like to run. Take a look at the video below to see just how fast an Ostrich can run. Emus are slower at about 30mph.
It isn't just the meat which you can sell from an emu though.
- Feathers are used for a variety of items including hats, jewelry or other items. Although the color is dull, they are double plumed which means they have two feathers growing out of the same quill. An oddity in nature.
- Emu Oil: Around the chest of the bird there will be about 250 ounces of oil which can be extracted from a mature bird. This can be done at a refinery. The price paid is about $10 an ounce. You may have heard a lot about the oil of the emu. It is reported to cure everything from baldness to acne and other skin ailments. The oil can be used topically or taken orally and is claimed to be beneficial for menstrual cramps and cholesterol.
- Emu meat. This is lean and healthy meat and has Omega 3. Ideally sell straight to the public or to a health food store to obtain the best price.
- Emu Leather: Another popular avenue for the emu farmer to explore. This can be made into boots, handbags and wallets. This can either be sold directly using places like Ebay or to a wholesaler.
- The eggs themselves have a few different uses, of course as food but also as objects for carving. There are some very talented people who love these eggs as their chosen medium on which to carve intricate designs.
- Sale of the young birds. Of course there is also the sale of the chicks. When you calculate the time needed to reach maturity, many people don't want to wait for a return on investment.
- If you have a sought after, prizing winning emu you can also sell the semen.