So, How Many Eggs Do Emus Typically Lay?

No matter what sort of poultry you own, you can always look forward to getting a bounty of fresh eggs… Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys; they all lay eggs that make for good eating, and the right breed can lay an awful lot of them. But what if you have a different kind of bird? Something really exotic! How about an emu for instance?

emu eggs
emu eggs

Don’t laugh, they’re getting more and more popular year to year, and are coming to a homestead near you. And, yes, emu eggs are edible. So, how many eggs do they typically lay?

Emus typically lay between 5 and 10 eggs in a clutch, and a single clutch may contain as many as 20 eggs. A productive, young female emu can lay up to 50 eggs in a year, or occasionally 60 in the case of an extraordinary individual.

That doesn’t sound like very many eggs, although the clutches are sizable. Compared to any chicken, emus lag way behind in terms of output.

But when you consider the fact that an emu egg is over 5 inches long and can weigh a pound and a half, that is a shocking amount of productivity from a single bird, even one as big as an emu. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you more about the output and laying habits of emus.

How Many Clutches Will Emus Lay in a Season?

At most, an emu will lay about three clutches of eggs a season, each consisting of between 5 and 20 eggs, although 10 is more common as the maximum number laid in any given clutch.

How Many Eggs Will Emus Lay in a Year?

The most eggs and emu will lay in a year is 50 as a rule of thumb, although 60 isn’t unheard of in the case of exceptionally productive females.

The bottom line is that emus simply don’t lay as fast and are nowhere near as productive as most chicken breeds, or even wild jungle fowl, ducks, geese, and other birds in nature.

Nonetheless, when you consider the size and weight of an emu and how big their eggs are, this is still a remarkable number, made even more so when you consider the fact that emus typically do not lay all year long.

Will Emus Lay More or Less Eggs if Fertilized?

It doesn’t matter. Emus will lay eggs whether or not they are fertilized through mating. Like pretty much all birds, females will produce eggs as soon as they’re sexually mature and lay them whether or not they have a mate.

Will Female Emus Lay Eggs Without a Male Around?

Yes. Although in the emu social hierarchy, females are expected to take multiple male partners, leaving males to sit on the eggs, and raise the chicks by themselves at least some of the time.

Still, an emo mom will still lay her own eggs without a male around to help her, assuming she’s in good health…

However, because it is not the females that sit on the eggs to incubate them, and they typically lack the instinct to do so any eggs that she does lay, even if fertilized, will likely be doomed.

Of course, if she doesn’t mate or runs out of sperm from a prior mating, the eggs won’t be fertilized in the first place.

Will Female Emus Lay More Eggs if a Male is Brooding Them?

No, not necessarily. Again, in the emu pecking order, it is the females that do the laying and the males that do the raising. The male prepares the nest, the female lays the eggs in the nest, and then the male takes over sitting on them, watching them, and protecting them.

A female will start laying when she’s ready, and after she is laid a suitable clutch, she might well look for a different location to lay in. That’s how it goes out in the wild, and remember that a female emu might have multiple suitors so this is normal.

What Affects Emu Egg Output?

A female emus egg output is affected by many of the same factors that will affect other kinds of poultry.

For starters, her age is a big one. Younger emus tend to lay more eggs and larger clutches and more consistently. Young females can also be depended on to lay multiple clutches in the same season, which usually lasts from late fall through early spring, about half the year.

As always, overall health is important. A bird that’s healthy and hasn’t suffered from a sickness, parasites, and other maladies will lay more eggs more often compared to one that is sickly or puny.

Stress is another major consideration, and threats from people, a rough environment, lack of shelter, predators, and annoyances might convince an emu to lay fewer eggs or even stop laying them entirely for a time. This is an instinctive response to pressures in her surrounding environment.

Nutrition is another biggie, with emus that are underfed or lacking vital nutrients being less likely to lay and laying fewer eggs as a rule.

Also, dehydration is one big gotcha when it comes to emus, and I’ve known plenty of emu owners that don’t get them quite enough water: an adult emu needs at least 6 liters a day and more in hot weather. If they’re dehydrated, that will slow down production!

Lastly, with or without a mate a female emu will always need an adequate nesting site to lay. Basically, this is a flat patch of grass.

Emu nests in the wild are extremely simple, being little more than a scratched-out depression lined with a little bit of fresh or dry plant matter, but you shouldn’t expect her to lay on rough or broken ground.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *