How To Start An Emu Farming Business
There are several options for getting into the emu business. Emu eggs and day-old chicks are seldom sold but possibly could be purchased for an estimated $1,000 to $1,500. Emu eggs probably are not insurable.
Sexed emu chicks at 3 and 4 months old can be purchased for approximately $3,500 to $4,500 per chick or $7,000 to $9,000 per pair. A rule of thumb is to add $1,000 per month, per pair, after 3 months of age. Emu chicks appear to have excellent livability, and mortality between hatch and adulthood is minimal. The risk in buying younger emus is less than with ostrich chicks.
Emus currently are insurable at 3 months of age, but this may change to 6 months by May 1993. A disadvantage of purchasing young chicks is the length of time until they are of reproductive age.
Current prices for yearling emu pairs (sexed) are $12,000 to $18,000 per pair. Advantages of purchasing yearlings include the ability to estimate adult size and conformation, and insurability. The disadvantage is the time before reproduction capacity is known.
Current price for 2-year-old emus are $25,000 to $28,000 per pair. Birds of this age are insurable and their adult size and conformation can be judged. They are also of age to reproduce and may already be reproducing: therefore, a quick return on investment is possible. However, the breeding and laying potential of the birds is unknown and 2-year-old pairs sold during the laying season may be culls.
Proven breeding pairs currently can be purchased for an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 per pair. Quick return on investment is an advantage. Disadvantages include high cost, the special equipment and knowledge required for incubating and hatching eggs and the mortality risk of raising birds to a marketable age.
Emu products include leather, meat and oil. Leather from emu hides is thinner and finer textured than ostrich leather. Anticipated uses include clothing and accessories. Emu meat, like ostrich meat, is being promoted as a low-fat, low-cholesterol red meat. Slaughter statistics from Emu Ranchers Incorporated (ERI) report average carcass weight is 80 pounds, with a 53.75 percent dressed yield.
The average meat per carcass is 26 pounds and average fat is 17 pounds. ERI anticipates the sale price of emu meat to the public will be $20.00 per pound. A private company is processing under the name brand New Breed(r). New Breed(r) meat products include sausage, hot links and summer sausage at $15.00 per pound, jerky at $5.00 per packet and steak at $20.00 per pound.
Emu oil, rendered from emu fat, is being used in skin care products in Australia (Emmuman(r)). One emu will yield 4 to 5 liters of oil. Emu producers in the U.S. are developing products and have two nearing the market stage: Emuri(r) Daytime Skin Therapy with Sunscreen (spf 8)- 1.7 ounces for $36.00; and Emuri(r) Night Revitalizing Cream – 1.7 ounces for $45.00. Emu oil is being sold by several U.S. companies for prices such as $20.00 per ounces or per 50 milliliters. Emu feathers also may have potential as a commodity.
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