Emu Farming – A neglected opportunity:
We went for a morning walk in the village to see how different it is from that of a city and felt jealous that we do not have such a calm, beautiful, pleasant, & fresh morning in our backyard. We were so delighted by the morning that we did not realize about the miles we covered on our walk. We went quite a long distance by enjoying every bit of the morning.
While coming back we saw an “Emu Farm” on the roadside and curiosity dragged us to explore this place. We met with the owner of the farm who is into Emu farming for the past eight years. He gave us an insight about Emu Farming and here are the excerpts from the discussion.
Emu bird is from a family of large birds which mainly originated in Australia. Emu farming in India was established during the mid 90’s and emu farms are increasing in India. The climate in India is very conducive for Emu farming particularly in southern states. Majority of the farms are in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, & Andhra Pradesh. The business is lucrative and a variety of emu products are being sold in the market as well as exported all over the world.
Emu farming requires a minimum budget of Rupees Ten lakhs which includes infrastructure, feed, vaccination, & training. Emu bird grows upto 5 feet tall and weighs about 40 – 50 Kg with a life span of about 30 years. Emu have very strong feet and they can run at a speed of 40 – 50 Km/h and they use their toes as brakes. They are curious birds and follow humans as well. They like music very much. While going near them one should not wear colourful items like bright buttons, clips, etc. as they tend to attract towards them and try to poke them. They also love playing with the water and like waters to be sprinkled on them.
For breeding a pair of Emu Birds, the total area required would be about 500 sq. feet. This area includes the living space and the activity area for the emu. Adequate land is required for development of Emu bird. Although these birds are very rough and immune to various diseases, but still they require a good infrastructure. Infrastructure includes a shelter, large activity area, fresh water, fresh food, incubators, electricity supply for incubators, fencing, etc. For a healthy and good quality emu appropriate feeds is a must. Lack of nutritional feed can weaken the immune system of the bird and may cause diseases as well. Although emu are very rugged and disease resistant birds, they tend to get infected by certain diseases very rapidly. Vaccination of emu against all the prevalent diseases in the area is necessary.
Normally, the expectancy of hatching egg in natural conditions was very less but due to the help of incubators it has gone up very significantly. Although, the products from emu farming are emu meat, emu eggs, emu chicks, & emu oil but the growth has not been there as expected by the farmers. It has been a cause of great concern and nobody is sure about its market and the opportunities. There has been not much demand for its meat and egg in India and the high cost of feeds is also a cause of concern for the farmers. Farmers feel that a thrust is required from the government to support this business. The farmers also feel that price of the feeds need to be controlled, a body needs to be formed to create awareness and facilitate exports for emu products. We must say an opportunity that needs to tapped and capitalized.
A small video of Emu birds: