Breeder Management

Emu birds attain sexual maturity by 18- 24 months age. Choose flock or pen mating. Keep sex ratio of male to female 1:1. In case of pen mating pairing should be done based on the compatibility. During mating, offer floor space about 2500 sft (100×25) per pair. Trees and shrubs may be provided for privacy and to induce mating. Offer breeder diet well in advance i.e 3- 4 weeks prior to breeding programme, and fortify with minerals & vitamins to ensure better fertility and hatchability in birds. Semen collection and artificial insemination was successful in emu so that the cost of male maintenance could be minimized. Its implementation needs skill. Soon after breeding season, separate the sexes and house them in flock and feed on maintenance ration. Normally adult bird consumes 1 kg feed /day but during breeding season feed intake will be drastically reduced hence intake of nutrients must be ensured.

First egg is laid around two and half year age. Eggs will be laid during October to February particularly cooler days of the year. The time of egg laying is around 5.30PM to 7.00PM. Eggs can be collected twice daily to avoid damage in the pen. Normally a hen lays about 15 eggs during first year cycle in subsequent years the egg production increases till it can reach about 30-40 eggs. On an average a hen lays 25 eggs per year. Egg weighs about 475-650 g with an average egg weight of 560 g in a year. Egg appears greenish look like tough marble. The intensity of colour varies from light, medium to dark green. The surface varies from rough to smooth. Majority of eggs (42%) are medium green with rough surface.

Feed the breeder ration with sufficient calcium (2.7%) for ensuring proper calcification of egg with strength. Feeding excess calcium to the breeding bird before laying will upset the egg production and also impairs the male fertility. Provide extra calcium in the form of grit or calcite powder by placing in a separate trough.

Collect eggs frequently from the pen. If eggs are soiled, clean with sand paper and mop up with cotton. Store the eggs in a cooler room providing 60 0F. Never store eggs for more than 10 days to ensure better hatchability. Eggs stored at room temperature can be set every 3 to 4 days for good hatchability.

Ostrich in breeding require 0.25 -0.5 hectare pen area per bird. Birds mature by 2-3 years of age. Infertile eggs from hens of early age are common due to non-mating. Eggs weigh about 1300-2100 g with maximum of 2100 g. Eggs are of light yellow, porous with thick shell. Fertility is about 80%. Fat birds do not mate, avoid over feeding.