How Much Does an Emu Actually Cost?

As surprising as it might be to Americans, emus are turning into big business. Part of this is due to a recent surge in popularity on social media, but also because as far as poultry goes, they have tons of benefits.

emu seen from the back
emu seen from the back

Emus produce many products, and not just eggs and meat: their oil, skins and even feathers are valuable, and the birds themselves are very valuable! It’s enough to entice anybody to branch out beyond the usual chickens and ducks. But just how much does an emu cost?

Emus are very expensive, with eggs running anywhere from $50 to $100, chicks selling for $500 to $1,000, and adults going anywhere from $5,000 to an eye-watering $40,000.

Emus are not native to the United States, as you know, and even though they’re becoming more and more common in every state they are still very rare as far as birds go, even valuable birds that can make people a lot of money when farmed properly.

Accordingly, if you want to buy in you had better bring your checkbook. Keep reading and I’ll tell you more about what you can expect to pay for an emu.

How Much is an Adult Emu?

Adult emus are the most expensive way to get into them, and the cost is commensurate with the age and lineage of the bird. Generally, the younger the bird, the cheaper it is…

Older, mature birds cost more because it has cost the person raising them more to that point, yes, but seeing which birds are healthy and viable also commands a premium. Viable breeder pairs can be extremely expensive.

Expect to spend anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 on a year-old bird, or one that is a little older. A good breeder that has spent a lot of time and money and sharing that the lineage of their birds is free of defects, healthy, and vital is going to charge a lot more.

It’s hardly uncommon to hear of emus selling for $20,000 or more, averaging about $40,000 for a mated pair that has already produced viable eggs.

If you just want an emu or two, and don’t want to raise it yourself from an egg or chick, it’s going to be extremely expensive.

How Much is an Emu Chick?

Emu chicks are much cheaper than adults but still quite spendy. Newly hatched chicks, meaning anywhere from 1 to 7 days old, will cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 or even a little more, with $500 being the typical price from an average breeder.

Somewhat older, adolescent birds, anywhere from 3 to 5 months old, will sell for between $2,500 and $5,000.

Again, the market for emus is still developing and prices fluctuate considerably depending on your region, the breeder, and the lineage of the bird, so make sure you do your research and know exactly what you’re getting and, just as importantly, what you can expect.

How Much is a Fertilized Emu Egg?

A fertilized egg is the cheapest way to get your own emu, so you’ve got to be prepared to incubate it and then raise the chick once it hatches, and there’s no guarantee that that chick will survive even under the best conditions.

A fertilized egg will typically run you anywhere from $50 to $100, maybe a bit more. Something else to keep in mind is that you won’t know what sex you are getting, an important consideration if you’re looking to expand your mob or if you’re trying to establish a bonded pair for breeding!

You can buy several eggs to increase your chances, but it’s still no guarantee, and then you’ll have to figure out what to do with the surplus birds if you don’t want to keep them.

Remember: Emus Need Companionship

Something you must keep in mind as a prospective emu owner is that these costs are nominal for a single bird. Emus, like most birds, do best with the companionship of their own kind.

Yes, an emu will bond to you if you take the time to raise it properly from a chick, and much of the time, they’ll maintain a relationship with you for the rest of their life – but they still need the company of other emus.

Accordingly, most experts on the subject have spent any time raising them recommend no less than 2 emus, and a small mob of 3 to 5 is often better. Obviously, depending on the age of the birds you are buying this can create a breathtakingly high investment!

Emus are Expensive to House and Care For

The bird is one thing; everything else it needs is another. Emus are pretty expensive to house and care for if only because they need lots of land to run around on, owing to their great size and need for exercise, and the fact that they need a large shelter that they can stand up in, or lie down in comfortably.

An adult emu will always do best with about a half acre to itself, though you can raise a small mob of 3 to 5 birds on an acre or a little bit more with good management practices.

As a rule, a little more room is always better. If you don’t have that much space, reconsider buying an emu or make plans to obtain the land.

Expert Emu Veterinary Care is Rare and Expensive in the US

Another often overlooked cost concerning the acquisition and ongoing ownership of emus is the rarity and subsequent expense of expert veterinary care.

Despite the explosive popularity and growth of these gigantic birds in the US, there are still exotics and still rare, and veterinarians who truly know the eccentricities of these majestic animals are even rarer.

Accordingly, most vets that have the expertise charge a pretty penny if you want to access it and you might have to travel or be willing to facilitate travel to bring the vet to you when needed.

You’ll be doing a whole lot yourself when it comes to taking care of your mob, you’ve also got to be prepared to shell out big time if they do need a doctor. Plan accordingly!

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