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… that the emu is native to Australia and was imported into the United States during 1930 through the late 1950’s as exotic zoo stock. Today, the exportation of live birds and eggs is prohibited from Australia. Exports of processed emu products from Australia, however, are on the rise as emu begins to gain acceptance worldwide for its unique qualities.
… that emus are raised throughout the United States and have adapted to challenging conditions ranging from the frigid winters of North Dakota to the harsh heat of southern Texas. Emus grow to be five to six feet tall and may weigh up to 140 pounds when mature.
… that emus normally breed as pairs. The hen can be productive for as long as 20 years, laying between 20 to 50 eggs in a season. Laying normally begins at two to three years of age, with the season extending from October to April in the United States each year.
… that the emu egg varies in size and color. It is usually dark green, averaging 5 inches long and weighing approximately 600 grams. Artificial incubation is often conducted at a temperature of approximately 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity that varies according to the climate. Average incubation time ranges from 50 to 60 days.
… that emu breeding is one of the fastest growing agri-businesses in the United States. Emus are almost totally useable, yielding the following products:
- A red meat, similar in taste and appearance to very lean beef, that is lower in cholesterol but higher in protein than beef. About 25-40 pounds of meat can be obtained from a mature bird.
- A unique, penetrating oil. Five to six liters of oil can be obtained from a single bird. Emu oil has attracted the interest of several national and international cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. Research is continuing in laboratories nationwide as more uses are identified for this versatile raw product.
- Approximately eight square feet of hide may be obtained from the adult bird. The tanned body leather is supple and durable, while the reptilian appearance of the leg leather provides striking contrast when selected as a fashion accent. The leather is used in upscale products including boots, belts, luggage, and accessory items.