Emu is adaptable to varied climatic conditions and it’s meat, eggs, oil, skin and feathers have high economic value. Although both emu farming and ostrich farming were introduced in India, emu farming has gained much importance.
Emu birds have poorly developed wings. Emu are reared commercially in many parts of the world for their meat, oil, skin and feathers, which are of high economic value. The physiological features of these birds appear to be suitable for temperate and tropical climatic conditions. These birds can be well maintained on intensive and semi intensive rearing systems with reasonably high fibrous diets. Emu birds are well adapted to Indian climatic conditions.
Emu has a long neck, relatively small naked head, three toes and body covered with feathers. Adult emu height is about 6 feet with a weight of 45-60 kg. Legs are long covered with scaly skin adaptable to hardy and dry soil. Natural food of emu is insects, tender leaves of plants and forages. It also eats different kinds of vegetables and fruits like carrot, cucumber, papaya etc.
Female emu is the larger of the two, especially during breeding season when the male may fast. The female emu is the dominant member of the pair. Emu may live life around 30 years. It may produce eggs for more than 16 years. Emu can be raised as a flock or pair.
Emu birds attain sexual maturity by 18- 24 months age. Keep sex ratio of male female as 1:1. Normally, adult birds consume 1 kg feed /day. But during breeding season, feed intake will be drastically reduced. Hence intake of nutrients must be ensured.
Emu need a balanced diet for their proper growth and reproduction. Feed cost is 60-70% of the production cost, hence least cost rations will improve the margin of returns over feeding.
Emu birds are generally sturdy and live long (80% livability). Mortality and health problems in the emus are mainly in chicks and juveniles.
Meat of emu is of high quality in terms of low fat, low cholesterol, flavour. Emu skin is fine and strong. Leg skin is of distinctive pattern hence highly valued. Emu fat is rendered to produce oil, which has dietary, therapeutic and cosmetic value.
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