The cultivation of emu birds for their eggs, chicks, mutton and oil has reported a steady increase in different parts of Nellore district, ever since its farming began in 2006.
Now, the Nellore District Emu Farmers’ Association (NDEFA) has got as many as 25 members, who continue farming emu considering the good returns. The population of emu birds in the district has risen to 3,500 with farmers and traders coming here regularly from Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for its products.
The attractive part of emu cultivation is that all parts of the bird fetch a price for farmers, which starts at egg stage. An emu egg costs Rs.1,500. The bird lays 15 to 20 eggs once every 18 months throughout its 40-year lifespan.
NDEFA secretary D. Prabhakar Reddy says that the emu mutton is recommended as healthy food since it has zero cholesterol and high protein and its oil has medicinal values effective even for paralytics. Emu mutton is sold at Rs.350 per kg while a chick above 3 months fetches Rs.5,000.
An adult emu bird weighs about 40 kg with four to five kg oil likely to be extracted from each bird. The oil has high demand as it has medicinal and therapeutic values.
At his farm at Ramapuram village in Kodavalur mandal, Mr. Prabhakar Reddy raises nearly 400 emu birds. “The demand is slowly increasing. We are getting enough returns. There is demand now from other States too for all emu products here,” he says.
A pair of adult emu birds brings the farmers nearly Rs.50,000 in the present market. As cutting facilities are not available, the farmers arrange it themselves to meet the local demand for emu mutton.
At the farm, an adult emu bird is given one kilo feed everyday. The emu feed consists of a mixture of maize corn, cotton seed, soya and so on.