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Registered Office

Alliance Agro Farms

Flat No. 203,
Parimala Residency,
Upstairs of More Supermarket,
Sri Krishna Nagar,
Hyderabad - 500045
Telangana, India.
Mobile: +91 9963657777
           +91 9849366630

Emu Farming

Emus belong to ratite group and have high economic value for their meat, eggs, oil, skin and feathers. These birds are adaptable to varied climatic conditions. Although emu and ostrich were introduced in India, emu farming has gained much importance.

 

Ratite birds have poorly developed wings and include emu, ostrich, rhea, cassowary and kiwi. Emu and ostrich are reared commercially in many parts of the world for their meat, oil, skin and feathers, which are of high economic value. The anatomical and physiological features of these birds appear to be suitable for temperate and tropical climatic conditions. These birds can be well maintained on extensive (ranches) and semi intensive rearing systems with reasonably high fibrous diets. United State, Australia and China are leading in emu farming. Emu birds are well adapted to Indian climatic conditions.

 


Management of Chicks

Emu chicks weigh about 370 to 450 g (about 67% of egg weight) depending on the size of egg. First 48-72 hours, emu chicks are restricted to incubator for quick absorption of the yolk and proper drying. Clean and disinfect brooding shed thoroughly and well in advance of receiving chicks, spread litter (paddy husk) and cover new gunny bags or burlap over the litter. Arrange a set of brooder for about 25-40 chicks giving 4 sft per chick for first 3 weeks. Provide brooding temperature of 900F at first 10 days and 850F till 3-4 weeks. Proper temperature makes the brood successful. Provide sufficient water mugs of a liter capacity and equal number of feeder troughs under the brooder. A chick guard must be 2.5 feet height to avoid jumping and straying of chicks. A 40 watt bulb should burn in the brooder shed throughout the day for every 100 sft area. After 3 weeks of age, slowly extend the brooder area by widening the chick guard circle and later remove it by the time chicks attain 6 weeks. Feed starter mash for the first 14 weeks or till attaining standard body weight of 10 kg. Ensure proper floor space for the birds housed, as these birds require run space for their healthy life. 30 ft run space is required; hence floor space of 40ft x 30ft is required for about 40 chicks, if out door space is provided. Floor must be easily drained and free from dampness.

Do's:  

  • Never over crowd the pen
  • For the first few days, provide sanitized water and anti-stress agents
  • Clean the waters daily, otherwise automatic waters are preferable
  • Monitor the birds daily for their comfort, feed intake, water intake, litter condition etc for making immediate corrections if any.
  • Ensure proper mineral and vitamins in the feed for healthy growth of chicks and to avoid leg deformities.
  • Practice all- in -all -out rearing to maintain better biosecurity

Don'ts:

  • Never handle the birds during hot hours.
  • Birds easily excite. Hence, calm and quite environment in the pen is required
  • Birds easily grab any item, so avoid certain objects like nails, pebbles etc in the vicinity of birds
  • Avoid unauthorized persons, material into the farm. Proper biosecurity must be ensured
  • Never keep the birds on smooth and paddy husk spread surface, as the young chicks easily excite, run and break their legs due to slipperiness.


Grower management

As Emu chicks grow, they require bigger size waterers and feeders and increased floor space. Identify sexes and rear them separately. If necessary, place sufficient paddy husk in the pen to manage the litter in good and dry condition. Feed the birds on grower mash till birds attain 34 weeks age or 25 kg body weight. Offer greens to about 10% of diet particularly different kinds of leaf meals for making the birds adapt to fibrous diets. Provide clean water all the time and offer feed as much as they want. Ensure dry litter condition through out the grower stage. If necessary, add required quantity of paddy husk to the pen. Provide 40ft x 100 ft space for 40 birds if out door space is considered. Floor must be easily drained and avoid dampness. Restrain the younger birds by securing the body by side ways and hold the body firmly. Sub adults and adults can be secured by holding the wing by side way and by grabbing both the wings and place by dragging closely to a persons legs. Never allow bird to kick. Bird can kick side ways and front ways. Hence, better securing and firm holding is necessary to avoid harming the bird as well as person.

Do's:

  • Monitor flock at least once daily for alertness of birds, feeding and watering troughs
  • Notice leg deformities and droppings. Identify and isolate ailing birds
  • Practice all- in –all- out system. Never keep in the vicinity of the adult birds

Don'ts:

  • Never keep sharp objects, pebbles in the vicinity of the birds. Birds are mischievous and grab any thing that comes in their vicinity.
  • Never handle or disturb the birds for restraining or vaccination during the hot weather conditions.
  • Provide cool and clean water throughout the day.


Breeder management

Emu birds attain sexual maturity by 18- 24 months age. Keep sex ratio of male to female as 1:1. In case of pen mating, pairing should be done based on the compatibility. During mating, offer floor space of about 2500 sft (100 x 25) per pair. Trees and shrubs may be provided for privacy and to induce mating. Offer breeder diet well in advance i.e 3- 4 weeks prior to breeding programme, and fortify with minerals and vitamins to ensure better fertility and hatchability in birds. Normally, adult bird consumes 1 kg feed /day. But during breeding season, feed intake will be drastically reduced. Hence intake of nutrients must be ensured.

First egg is laid at around two and half years age. Eggs will be laid during October to February, particularly cooler days of the year. The time of egg laying is around 5.30 to 7.00 PM. Eggs can be collected twice daily to avoid damage in the pen. Normally, a hen lays about 15 eggs during first year cycle, In subsequent years, the egg production increases till it can reach about 30-40 eggs. On an average, a hen lays 25 eggs per year. Egg weighs about 475-650 g with an average egg weight of 560 g in a year. Egg appears greenish and looks like tough marble. The intensity of colour varies from light, medium to dark green. The surface varies from rough to smooth. Majority of eggs (42%) are medium green with rough surface.

 

Emu eggs

Feed the breeder ration with sufficient calcium (2.7%) for ensuring proper calcification of egg with strength. Feeding excess calcium to the breeding bird before laying will upset the egg production and also impairs the male fertility. Provide extra calcium in the form of grit or calcite powder, by placing in a separate trough. Collect eggs frequently from the pen. If eggs are soiled, clean with sand paper and mop up with cotton. Store the eggs in a cooler room providing 600F. Never store eggs for more than 10 days to ensure better hatchability. Eggs stored at room temperature can be set every 3 to 4 days for good hatchability.



Incubation and Hatching

Set the fertile eggs after adjusting to room temperature. Place in a horizontal or in slant arranged row-wise in a tray. Keep the egg incubator ready by cleaning and disinfecting them thoroughly. Switch on the machine for setting the correct incubating temperature i.e dry bulb temperature of about 96-970F and wet bulb temperature of about 78-800F (about 30-40% RH). Place carefully the egg tray in a setter, once the incubator is ready with set temperature and relative humidity and place identification slip for date of set and pedigree, if required. Fumigate the incubator with 20g potassium permanganate + 40 ml formaline for every 100 cft of incubator space. Turn the eggs every one hour till the 48th day of incubation. From 49th day onwards, stop turning the eggs and watch for pipping. By 52nd day, the incubation period ends. The chicks need drying. Hold the chicks for at least 24 to 72 hours in the hatcher compartment, for reducing the down and to become healthy chicks. Normally hatchability will be 70% or more. There are many reasons for low hatchability. Proper breeder nutrition ensures healthy chicks.



Feeding

Emus need balanced diet for their proper growth and reproduction. Based on the literature, certain nutrient requirements were suggested (Table 1 and 3). Feed can be prepared by using common poultry feed ingredients (Table 2). Feed alone accounts for 60-70% of the production cost, hence least cost rations will improve the margin of returns over feeding. In commercial farms, feed intake per emu breeding pair per annum varied from 394-632 kg with a mean of 527kg. Cost of feed was Rs.6.50 and 7.50 during non-breeding and breeding season respectively.

Nutrient requirements suggested for Emu at different age groups


Parameter

Starter 10-14 week age or up to 10kg body weight

Grower
15-34 wk age or10-25kg body weight

Breeder

Crude Protein%

20

18

20

Lysine %

1.0

0.8

0.9

Methionine%

0.45

0.4

0.40

Tryptophan %

0.17

0.15

0.18

Threonine %

0.50

0.48

0.60

Calcium % mini

1.5

1.5

2.50

Total phosphorus %

0.80

0.7

0.6

Sodium chloride %

0.40

0.3

0.4

Crude fiber (max) %

9

10

10

Vitamin A(IU/kg)

15000

8800

15000

Vitamin D 3 (ICU/kg)

4500

3300

4500

Vitamin E (IU/kg)

100

44

100

Vitamin B 12 (µ g/kg)

45

22

45

Choline (mg/kg)

2200

2200

2200

Copper (mg/kg)

30

33

30

Zinc (mg/kg)

110

110

110

Manganese (mg/kg)

150

154

150

Iodine (mg/kg)

1.1

1.1

1.1

Emu Feeds (kg/100kg)


Ingredients

Starter

Grower

Finisher

Breeder

Maintenance

Maize

50

45

60

50

40

Soybean meal

30

25

20

25

25

DORB

10

16.25

16.15

15.50

16.30

Sunflower

6.15

10

0

0

15

Dicalcium phosphate

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

Calcite powder

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

Shell grit

0

0

0

6

0

Salt

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

Trace minerals

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

Vitamins

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

Cociodiostat

0.05

0.05

0.05

0

0

Methionine

0.25

0.15

0.25

0.25

0.15

Choline chloride

0.05

0.05

0.05

0.05

0.05



Healthcare and management

Ratite birds are generally sturdy and live long (80% livability). Mortality and health problems in emus are mainly in chicks and juveniles. These include starvation, malnutrition, intestinal obstruction, leg abnormalities, coli infections and clostridial infections. The main causes were improper brooding or nutrition, stress, improper handling and genetic disorders. Other diseases reported were rhinitis, candidiasis, salmonella, aspergillosis, coccidiosis, lice and ascarid infestations. Ivermectin can be given to prevent external and internal worms at 1 month interval beginning at 1 month age.
In emu, enteritis and viral eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) were reported. In India, so far few outbreaks of Ranikhet disease were recorded based on gross lesions but were not confirmed. However, the birds vaccinated for R.D at the age of 1 (lasota), 4 (lasota booster) weeks; 8, 15 and 40 weeks by mukteswar strain gave better immunity.



Emu products

Meat from emu and ostrich are of high quality in terms of low fat, low cholesterol, gamey flavour. Valued cuts are from thigh and larger muscle of drum or lower leg. 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 (anti inflammatory) and cosmetic value.



Economics

Emu farm economic survey indicated that cost involved in purchase of breeding stock were expensive (68%). The rest of the investments are on farm (13%) and hatchery (19%). Feeding cost per breeding pair per annum was estimated to be Rs. 3600. Cost of production of hatching egg and day-old chick was Rs.793 and 1232 respectively. Annual feed intake per pair was recorded as 524 kg, costing Rs.3578. The cost of salable chick at day-old age was Rs.2500-3000. Better returns from emu are possible with good hatchability (more than 80%), lower feeding cost and minimized chick mortality (less than 10%).


 

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