Why Should I Keep Emus? I’ve Got 12 Good Reasons

If you ever thought about raising poultry, chances are pretty good you look hard at chickens. Everyone does. But if you’re near a body of water or if you just want to be different, maybe ducks, geese or even turkeys are more your speed.

headshot of an emu bird

For some of us, these common birds just won’t do it. We want bigger birds, cooler birds. We want megapoultry. We want… Emus. Emus!? Yes. They are certainly cool, but also huge and exotic. Why on earth would anyone raise emus?

Emus have lots to offer and are highly versatile compared to other kinds of poultry. They produce meat, eggs, feathers, and leather as physical products, and also present agricultural, tourism, and utility benefits for business and other endeavors.

I used to think that people who raised emus were just attention-seekers or completely bored with all of the more mundane livestock species out there. After researching what they bring to the table for myself, I think these folks are just ahead of the curve.

Emus have a lot to recommend them even compared to the other kinds of birds you are familiar with. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you about all these benefits below.

5 Things You NEED TO KNOW About Emus

Minimal Land Requirements

For their size, emus don’t need that much land. If you want to give them plenty of room to roam, you can keep a breeding pair or even a small flock of three on just one acre of land and they’ll be comfortable, and that includes their shelter by the way. They don’t need much considering they top out at about 130 pounds!

If you are rearing them for meat or are breeding and selling them, a profitable small-scale operation consisting of five or six adult birds can be managed on an acre with good pasture and good practices.

This can provide some really great returns if you’re maximizing your revenue streams, and in any case, you don’t need a huge parcel of land like you would with cows or even pigs under the same circumstances.


As crazy as it sounds, emu eggs are a pretty hot commodity in some sectors. And yes, they’re basically giant chicken eggs. But, they are giant eggs that are wonderfully flavorful, rich, creamy, and absolutely crammed to the brim with protein, healthy fats, and tons of vitamins and minerals.

A single emu egg might be a novelty for some diners, but many restaurants have a demand for them. Plus, you can always sell fertilized eggs to people who want to hatch and raise their own emus.


No, emu meat doesn’t taste like chicken. But this ruby red meat is still intensely flavorful, extremely lean, and quite healthy, getting a recommendation from the American Heart Association as one of the best heart-healthy proteins you can eat.

An adult emu has a carcass yield of around 30 pounds, maybe a bit more, and this meat can command a premium in most markets, even sold directly to the consumer. Plus, if you are familiar with butchering chickens, butchering an emu is much the same; it only takes place on a larger scale.


Oil? Yes, oil. Emu oil is the so-called secret sauce, one of the products that makes emus very valuable indeed.

Derived from the fat in their body, emu oil contains all sorts of beneficial organic compounds, and is used in all kinds of cosmetic products, topical remedies, conditioners for leather, hair, and much more.

You’ll even see it as a component in all-natural, organic pain relievers, insect bite relief topicals, and a whole lot more.

This product is totally unique, and obviously, it only comes from emus. If you are going for a maximally profitable revenue model with emus, it is indispensable and something that you simply cannot get from any other kind of poultry.


Another strange but genuine revenue stream that emus provide is their feathers. Emu feathers are used in a startling number of crafts and goods, everything from feather dusters and hats to bespoke artisans who use them for creating furniture, artwork, clothing, and more.

Best of all, it is possible to harvest emu feathers over time without harming the birds, or if you are slaughtering them for meat anyway, this is just one more way that you can maximize the useful yield.


Every leather aficionado reading this is already entirely familiar with this emu product. Emu leather actually has a distinguished history in many applications, from boots and gloves to wallets, upholstery, and a whole lot more.

It is distinct, and instantly recognizable, by its peculiar pattern of evenly spaced dots, or bumps. These bumps are from the large feather follicles in the bird’s skin. Processing leather is a major undertaking, and a really nasty one, but if you are already involved in leather making or preparation this is a shoo-in, and you can always sell the hides to local craftspeople or even businesses who deal in leather. That’s something you just don’t get from chickens or turkeys!

Agricultural Benefits

Emus offer their owners several benefits for your homestead that can benefit you and your land in practical ways. With time, these can actually save you money!

For starters, these birds can absolutely eradicate all kinds of insects and other pests that might prey on your plants or crops. They’re also surprisingly good grazers and will eat many kinds of low-growing plants while they roam around, including all kinds of weeds. This helps to condition the soil and also protect crops.

The long-term presence of emus can reduce the need to deploy insecticides, herbicides, and other chemicals which can harm the livestock, and slowly poison the soil over time. Considering that they also don’t need much in the way of food or water, especially considering their size, this makes them an economical choice.

emu seen from the back


Emus, just like all other animals, poop. And like chickens, turkeys, cows and other livestock species’ poop, theirs too can be turned into useful, beneficial manure or compost and then used to condition soil or give plants and crops a big boost.

But compared to larger critters like cows and pigs, emu poop isn’t too bad, and is easy to handle and clean up.

If you want to minimize waste while maximizing returns, or just offer customers a novel type of manure, emus can definitely deliver. And, like all birds, they tend to “deliver” a lot if you take my meaning!

Livestock Guardianship

One of the coolest uses for emus and, personally, my favorite is as a livestock guardian animal.

Emus can get along with most other animals if they are raised with them, even smaller animals like goats, and larger species like horses, cows, and so on. Again, this is so as long as they have been raised with them! In that case, they tend to view them as family or flockmates.

For chickens and other birds, it is best if the emus have a separate run or pen; they can stomp chickens flat if they get aggressive!

But here’s the deal: emus are downright surly with intruders, and these birds are highly intimidating. They weigh around 130 pounds, stand 6 feet tall, hiss, and can run at speeds in excess of 32 mph.

If you have a thief or a predator coming in to try to make a prize of your chickens or get away with a goat, an emu is going to be quite the wake-up call for them! They even go after birds of prey; nothing gets past them!

And this isn’t speculation, either. An increasing number of farmers and homesteaders are using them for exactly this purpose.

Outreach and Tourism

Emus are definitely charismatic animals.Simply, emus are cute, cool, and interesting, animals that attract plenty of attention and engagement from people. Emus are just plain neat, and people naturally want to see them up close, learn about them, and- of course- pet them if they can.

This makes emus a great choice for funding trips, outreach, and educational opportunities with schools, corporations, tourists, and a lot more.

A nice, quaint homestead and a tidy emu farming operation is something most people would love to come and visit, and if you have a well-socialized and trained emu that can interact with visitors you can make a bundle charging admission.

Breeding Opportunities

As mentioned above, emus are becoming big business, and getting bigger all the time as more and more people start to wake up to the ample opportunities that they provide.

You might make yourself the prime dealer of such opportunities if you get in early and learn the ropes of emu breeding.

For folks that want to buy adults or raise their own from eggs, you can easily provide for them as emus tend to be quite healthy and reliable breeders in a variety of environments.

Really buffing up your expertise when it comes to emu biology, illness, and wellness can also make you an authority for selling services, too.

Cool Factor

And, lastly and not for nothing, emus are just downright cool. Let’s face it, most of us haven’t seen the common livestock species our entire lives. There’s nothing truly like an emu in the United States except, well, emus and also ostriches.

These huge birds are intelligent, playful and completely unique, and they are actually a lot closer to a dinosaur than a common bird as you are used to seeing.

They are fascinating, ancient creatures, and not just a pet or something you would keep as an ornamental animal. They have very real benefits and offer lots of ways to make very real money. But, in the meantime, you’ll enjoy admiring and interacting with them. And that’s worth something, I say!

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