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Anyone raise Emu's for meat?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Title says it all.  I was considering getting 2 emu's, though that would require a substantial investment in fencing.  I've read the meat is like lean beef.  They lay 15 - 50 eggs per year and weigh 110-140 pounds grown.  So If I raised 6 per year I could maybe do away with my grass fed beef order.  And hopefully could sell eggs or chicks.  I think they are neat looking birds.  There are different versions of how much space they need but the boys don't crow and the girls give a boom boom only during mating season big_smile.png

 

 

I have read they need at least a 100 foot run though I've also read they need an acre.  But I could run a 10' wide fence down both back property lines which in total would be a 1200' run with an additional square area an coop.

 

Of course hubby already said no.  But was wondering if anyone had tried it.  I know they don't breed til 18 months to 2 years.

Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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post #2 of 14

When the emu market crashed, they were giving away chicks around here.  So I looked into it.  The very slow growth, high feed requirements, high fencing requirements, potential dangerous behavior, and low production of meat made them a no go for me.

 

You won't be getting any 110 pounds of meat.  It is more like 30 pounds of dressed meat and it takes a long time to get there.  If you want emu meat, then go for it, but I suggest some more extensive research before you invest.

 

When you are raising food for your family, cost isn't everything.  There are other considerations, like health and taste.

 

Perhaps you could find someone who sells emu meat, so that your family can taste it before you get too much money tied up in Emus.

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Exhibition quality Blue Swedish Ducks and Gray Saddleback Pomeranian Geese,   Hatching eggs available in late winter and spring. NPIP

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post #3 of 14
My husband and I are very fond of cows (yup, even ornery range cattle) and since we plan to home butcher any meat animal we raise, we looked at alternatives. I worked with emus at an aviary, and ours were overall pretty pushy but not what I would call particularly dangerous, as in, imminent death. The hornbills, and definitely the golden eagle were much more worrying. We shift door trained some of the emus for easier handling. If you go to the emu forum, you'll see that emus tend to be the ratite that people tame down to be very friendly. Sometimes too friendly. I was personally molested by a love-struck male emu on Christmas morning...that was the dopiest look I've ever seen on a bird before. Texas A & M university did a lot of studies on emus and ostriches raised for meat, and list emus as having 30 pounds of meat dressed.

Ostriches however are much more flighty and aggressive...and I've never hear of a tame, sweet ostrich. If I raise them, I would prefer a set-up where I am not ever in the enclosure with them. According to Texas A & M, you get 70 to over 100 pounds of meat off them. I recently tried ostrich, and it tasted *exactly* like high quality, grass-fed beef. My husband and I both were extremely happy with the taste and texture. I do NOT like gristle, so eating ostrich was like heaven for me. Compared to cattle, according to several sources, they appear to dress out more quickly, eat and drink less, and have more offspring. That would be great as I want a lower environmental impact animal. I need to research more though to make sure these claims are accurate. Also, I am hoping I can have parent raised birds in TX. Incubators and brooders are expensive, and I've never been impressed with artificially raised birds in terms of hardiness. Something to consider perhaps.

I have use for their eggs, eggshells, feathers, meat, and leather (the leather looks patterned due to the feather shafts). Emus have a much prettier blue green egg, their feathers are different, and emu vs. ostrich oil differs. Neither are so big that we can't butcher one ourselves without too much equipment. Neither if us eat a lot of meat, so it won't take too many to feed us and be incorporated into the dogs' diet.

Some other red meat animals people raise instead of angus or other popular meat breeds include yak, miniature cattle, breeds like longhorns that forage well, miniature yak, and bison.

PS, the emus were also the easiest birds to clean up after. It was exactly like scooping up little green cow patties.
Edited by punk-a-doodle - 10/20/12 at 12:22pm
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Punk- a-doodle what size area was the emus kept in and how many was that?

 

Oregon, I do intend to get some emu meat before I invest.  Probably won't get any right now though.  Just looking around.
 

Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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post #5 of 14
Hey kizanne, we had a breeding (though we incubated just about every species' eggs for some reason) pair on what I'd say was about half an acre to an acre, and then a lone male in a much, much smaller paddock. He was a show bird, so was taken out often. It was still a fairly large yard. If you want birds that really run around, forage and work out their muscles, I'd as give them as much space as you can. Birds in smaller holdings are not nearly as active (some prefer to eat less active meat animals). Also depends on if you want to feed a pelleted feed (the aviary fed Mazuri ratite pellets with veggie supplements), all forage, or a mix of forage and home raised diets. I plan on the last option. I'm looking into fodder systems, plan on rotational fields, and will already be raising some feeder mice and reptiles that the ostriches will like.

As a side note, the breeding pair had a secure and very tall chain link fence. The show bird was in a housing area gated from the public, and only had a fairly low and rickety fence that bent under his weight. I'll see if I have a video of that for you. Oh, here:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2oKi-zafYP4

He was such a doofus...miss him. The other male was not raised around people, and was not my favorite bird. He was much pushier, and wasn't above trying to kick you especially around food.
Edited by punk-a-doodle - 10/20/12 at 1:13pm
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'd do pellet with supplement from my garden.  I just don't think I have the space to do it right.  I have an acre but i don't have 1/2 acre for just emu's.  A girl can dream though.  I have read some posts here and elsewhere on the web that indicated a long run was more important than width so they can really stretch their legs.

Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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post #7 of 14

so how do you butcher an emu or ostrich?
 

post #8 of 14
I searched for that recently, but didn't find anything very detailed in how to actually process them. Texas A&M did have videos detailing to process, so I am hoping I can contact hem and obtain that info in some form or another. I still have a VHS player, so if they still have the original VHS tapes, I'm good to go. One of the ostrich/emu specific groups may be of help. Other than that, all I can think of is paying a specialty processer to do a demonstration.
Edited by punk-a-doodle - 10/20/12 at 9:16pm
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

I've been over to the emu/ ostrich thread but they keep them as pets.  Which so would I up til time to eat them of course.wink.png

 

I would think the butcher would be much the same.  Kill, drain, gut, puck if desired.  chop meat into appropriate pieces.  There might be an oil gland or something to look for but I can't imagine it would be much harder than a turkey except the catch and kill part.  My hubbies question was how to you slit it's throat with out getting maimed?

Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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Wife to one wonderful husband, momma to a dear daughter, teacher of many, owner of too many chickens with eggs in the bator, 3 cats, 2 dogs, thousands of mealworms

 

What a wonderful life, live yours as the path less taken is often filled with surprises.

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post #10 of 14

We used to raise all three ratites (the ostrich, emu and rhea) They all have a real good red meat and easy to cook and great to eat. We only had them behind regular horse fence with an electric wire on top. The emus were the nicest of all 3 to be around. And the least dangerous! The way he would kill them all differed. The ostrich and the emu he would shoot in the head, because the ostrich was too dangerous and big to grab by it's neck and wrestle it to the ground and chop off his head and the emu too shy to let him get that close. But the mean rhea he just grabbed it by the neck, pushed it to the ground, and chopped his head off. At the time we had a flock of about 40 rheas, the most dominant male was very aggressive and would just run up to my husband when he would go into his pasture so that's how he would determine who was going to be next!  The way he butchered them was alot like you do deer, hoist them up to drain over some big can and skin them.  (btw kizanne, I only live a little ways from you in Cairo, I grew up in Tallahassee)frow.gif
 

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One marvelous husband, 4 dogs, 5 goats, one mule, 2 donkeys, 4 zebra, 4 camel, one capybara, 2 cows, 1 pig, 200 honey bee hives, 12 BBB, 3 RIR, and 3 EE,

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