Originally Posted by MarcAustin
When I was a young man (1995) working my way through university, a co-worker had a flock of 26 adults and a bunch of little ones running amok. At that time she was doing a lot of business selling the eggs to folks interested in art type projects but she indicated a lot of owners were attempting to market emu as a healthful red-meat alternative. I lost touch with her and obviously haven't run across emu steaks in the local grocery so perhaps you could tell me - what happened with between then and '2000 ? Why do you think emus never took off beyond boutique farming ?? Just curious. I LOVED hanging out at her place. At 1st I found them a little creepy but when you get to know them - they are fascinating and quite amiable. The youngsters are better than prime time television. Thank you and best of luck in your endeavours !!
living in Texas I have spoken to many emu "ranchers" over the past several years
the farming or ranching of emus started out as an alternative to beef. They had less health issues than beef and many people DID make millions of dollars off of them back when they were gaining popularity. I know of one person in particular who was selling young adult pairs for $ 45,000 each on up to over $ 75,000 for a "proven" pair. Some ranchers got even more than that at auction. Janice Castleberry and her husband made several millions of dollars selling hatching eggs as well as running an auction (where they only got commission fees) off of any emus that were sold through their auction barn. The Castleberrys still live locally, raise exotic pets and are authors of several books. Now their son runs the auction where they still sell exotics.
After a few years the bottom fell out of the emu market.. mainly because the meat seemed too "exotic" for most people and the general public never would embrace the emu as a "meat bird". But also because there just wasn't as much meat on an emu than there was on a beef cow (even though emu meat is by far a healthier alternative to eat than beef).
You can still find emu and ostrich (as well as other exotic meats) at some of the "high end" or specialty restaurants. Lol.. I've eaten emu, ostrich, alligator and buffalo all at local restaurants.. so I know it's out there. (all of those are delicious by the way)
Emus are still slaughtered for their oil, and I know there are several breeders who sells hatching eggs as well as emu oil online (and a few do sell emu meat).
I think you'll find that most of the people even here on the forum would never dream of eating an emu since they consider them to be their pets or family.
Lol.. even rabbit and lamb are considered to be too exotic by most people who can't get past the "cuteness" factor and look at them as being "dinner" instead
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