Feature

How to Process and Refine Emus

When it comes to emu farming, why you raise emus affects how you process and refine them.

Do you have emus for:
• Emu oil? What will you use the emu oil for? Do you plan to sell it?
• Emu meat? Do you plan to keep it for yourself? Do you plan to sell it for human consumption? Do you plan to sell it for animal consumption? Do you plan to keep the fat and/or bones?
• Emu eggs? Will they be for eating or hatching? Do you plan to sell the eggshells?
• Emu hides for leather and feathers?

Another thing to consider before starting an emu farm are any potential obstacles that come with processing and/or refining your emus.

Finding a processor

Most state or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) processing facilities are set up for four-legged animals such as cows, hogs, or deer. Some are set up for birds such as chickens or ducks, but very few are willing to accept ratites (emus and ostriches).

Even if you do find a processor that will take emus, they generally require payment upfront for the inconvenience or want a certain number of birds to make it worth their while. This can make it very difficult for small emu farms who don’t have that many birds or simply can’t afford the cost.

Depending on your location, processing fees for emus can be $60-$120 per bird.

Sometimes emu farmers have to drive long distances to get their emus to a processing facility …

Read the rest of the article in the winter 2018 issue of Emu Today & Tomorrow to find out how to process birds and where, how to refine birds and where, and how to overcome other challenges in the emu industry.