How Much Do Emu Eggs Cost? Why So Expensive?

If you’ve been paying any attention to social media, homesteading circles, or even the news in some places, you’ve probably seen that emus are suddenly all the rage. Why? I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s “just a fad,” either.

They are coming on in a big way here in the US, with people wanting to own them for pets and livestock, and also make use of their many, many products for profit…

emu eggs
emu eggs

Their most obvious product, to most of us, is their eggs. Emu eggs are gigantic, green, and absolutely delicious. But there’s just one problem: they are so expensive! Why do emu eggs cost so much?

Emu eggs are expensive because the emus that lay them are both rare and very expensive themselves. There are very few emus in the United States, and relatively little demand for their eggs which drives prices way up.

Ultimately, it isn’t even really the novelty factor that makes emu eggs so expensive, although it’s certainly a contributing one right now.

It’s simply a matter of economics, and the economics add up to a big price tag for those big eggs (and the price of the birds, too). It won’t make you feel better, but keep reading and I can tell you why emu eggs are so costly…

Are Emu Eggs Rare?

Yes, they are. And necessarily so because the birds that lay them are very rare. Or rather I should say because they are very rare in the United States.

In case you didn’t know, emus aren’t from here. They’re from Australia and surrounding regions. They’ve been imported to the United States, and those populations are growing but growing slowly.

As best I was able to determine, there’s anywhere from 12,000 to 14,500 emus in the whole of the United States. That’s it.

By comparison, you’ve got more than half a billion chickens. Yes, billion with a B. When it comes to servicing a market, emus aren’t even a blip.

Do Emus Lay Many Eggs?

Not compared to chickens, but probably still more than you think. A healthy, young, and highly productive female emu can lay about 50, maybe 60 eggs a year. That’s it, and that number is considered extraordinarily lackluster by chicken standards.

And because emus are so large, relatively slow to grow, and produce so few eggs, this means that those eggs have naturally got to be quite expensive to make up for the much greater cost of raising and sustaining emus on a farm or homestead.

How Much Does an Emu Egg Cost in the Grocery?

If you want a single, solitary emu egg from your grocery store or a specialty food retailer, expect to shell out anywhere from $30 to $50. Ouch!

Yes, part of that is for the novelty of eating a luxury food. The other contributing factors are, as mentioned, the fact that emus are rare in the US, and that they simply don’t lay that many eggs. They really are a rare, scarce product!

Market Forces Mean That Emu Eggs are Always Going to Be Pricier Than Chicken Eggs

Before you totally bawk (heh) at the price of emu eggs, just consider the economic and market forces that contribute to that cost. Most folks simply don’t want emu eggs.

That means that retailers can’t sell them at scale, or producers can’t even sell them directly to the public in sufficient numbers to pay for the expensive birds that lay them.

Likewise, even if they are going to market, they have to be refrigerated, transported, and kept intact.

Once at a retailer, these gigantic and cumbersome eggs are not space efficient, and are taking up valuable and hotly contested shelf space that other purveyors of products might pay more to get their products on.

Products that are more likely to sell, mind you, and make the retailer a profit…

When you consider the fact that emus aren’t ubiquitous in the way that chickens are. This means that the logistical challenges of acquiring, transporting, and delivering them to markets that will service customers that want them to grow ever longer and even more difficult.

Every single one of these tiny factors inflates the price of these eggs. Rare or not, they’ve got to be worth selling to sell at all.

headshot of an emu bird
headshot of an emu bird

Are Fertilized Emu Eggs Expensive?

Yes, they sure are! If you nearly fainted at the price of an emu egg that you can get out of a specialty grocer’s cold case, you better sit down.

A fertilized emu egg that’s viable can run around $100 or even more. It’s true!

Even if you’ve got the bright idea of hatching your own emu, you’re still going to pay just for the chance at accomplishing it.

That’s because a viable breeding pair from a good lineage that will produce healthy chicks can set an emu rancher back upwards of $40,000. No, I’m not kidding. There are a whole lot of cars you can buy for less.

Is There Much Demand for These Eggs?

No, not in the grand scheme of things. But I can tell you one thing for sure. That demand is increasing.

In areas where emus are popular and kept in large mobs, like Texas, for instance, Emu eggs can actually be a convenience option and value proposition for businesses.

If you’re baking huge quantities of desserts or just a jumbo breakfast for a lot of people, an emu egg can certainly save you time in the kitchen, and with the increasing cost of chicken eggs an emu egg isn’t too much worse if you can get it direct from the farm.

Plus, emus in general are hot right now. People want them as pets or as interesting livestock to farm for leather, oil, meat, and of course eggs.

As their numbers continue to grow, and the demand for the eggs only increases, we’ll see those prices come down, down, down as long as supply can keep up.

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