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Emu (pronounced either ee-mew or ee-moo) is
Initially, Emu were
imported to the
The bloodlines of Emu
available to the
Emu began to be commercially bred in the
Emu are generally very docile. Emu tend to be intensely curious creatures. Emu chicks hatch from eggs ranging in size from 400 to 900 grams in weight, with the average being near 550 grams or about 1.25 pounds. Upon hatching, the chicks will stand nearly 10 inches tall and they will have a yellowish-white and black striping used to camouflage them in the wild. At three months, the chicks have grown to 24 inches and transition through a black head and then black body stage as their feathers grow in. Within 6 months the chick is 4 1/2 feet tall and has attained the black, tan and brown feather coloring of the adult and they begin to fill out in weight. As adults they possess a soft downy feathering [since no vein runs through the center of each double-feathered quill]. Often parts of the head, neck and beak can display a radiant blue coloring.
Emu adapt well to climates from the outback of
The mature Emu is 5 to 6 1/2 feet tall and can stretch to over 7 feet. At 14 to 18 months of age they will weigh between 80 and 120 pounds. Many female Emu can lay eggs before they are 2 years old, whereas males attain sexually maturity between 3 and 4 years of age. At 4 years old, the well cared for Emu will weigh between 120 and 150 pounds.
The Emu can reach running speeds of 40 mph in very few steps, with strides often covering over 9 feet. In a single step an Emu can duck and weave with a finesse that would put a National Football League running back to shame.
Emu require copious good water, often consuming
in excess of 3 gallons daily per bird. Emu also
love to play and splash in pools of water and mud. They are excellent swimmers,
if permitted the opportunity. [The appearance resembles the pictures shown of
Emu eat grains, berries, bugs, snakes, frogs and similar fare. Commercially raised Emu requires a prepared feed with a vitamin and mineral pack specially designed for the very short digestive tract of the Emu. Pelletized feeds provide full nutrition in each morsel they eat. Several feed manufacturers have performed years of study to prepare effective Emu Feeds.
Adult Emu are known to produce offspring well past the age of 35 years old. Emu generally lay between 20 and 30 eggs per season, which occurs during our winter. Occasionally, a hen will produced 40 to 50 eggs in a year. Breeding normally begins in the fall with eggs being laid from late October through June. A typical hen will lay an egg every 3 to 5 days for about 3 months.
Emu eggs are naturally an avocado green color with the texture varying from hen to hen. Emu eggs are the longest incubating eggs at 50 days.
You might say Emu are the original surrogate mother. The female lays the egg, but it's the male that sits on the egg until it hatches. He also cares for the chicks for their first 18 months of life in the wild.
In courting the female Emu will resonate a tympani like sound from her air sac, and she will fill the air sac with air as though she were sticking out her chest. The male makes a grunting sound similar to a wild boar. The chicks make a quiet peeping sound.
Commercial incubation time is 49-52 days and the percentage of eggs hatch is usually between 70 to 80% if normal sanitation and handling care is taken. Once hatched, chick survival rates are excellent. Once an Emu chick absorbs the yolk sac at about 10 days after hatch, these birds are very hardy and only require normal livestock hygiene and maintenance. The Emu must be hardy, their existence on Earth is believed to exceed 80 million years.
In most climates chicks will need shelter despite their rapid growth. Harsher climates place different housing requirements on commercial growers. But in all cases, overcrowding should be avoided.
A mature Emu will yield 4 to 5 liters of raw Emu oil at time of harvest. They also provide 20 to 30 pounds of Iron Rich Red Meat, which is low in fat and cholesterol.