Amritsar (Punjab), May 3 (ANI): Poultry farmers in Punjab's Amritsar city have taken to emu farming to exploit the multiple returns offered by these birds, in terms of their meat, oil, skin, feathers and even their colourful eggs are in huge demand for ornamental purposes.
With the poultry industry being caught in the imbroglio of avian flu, emu farming is fast catching up with the farmers of the region.
Gunraj Singh, whose love for the bird prompted him to set up the first emu farm in the state, feels that emu farming would turn out to be profitable venture, and will hugely contribute to the state's economy.
"The reason is that poultry has a lot of problems, you know, as we are talking of poultry today. We are bringing up poultry, everything is coming on antibiotics and all medicines; there are a lot of things but in this itself, there is less of headache," said Gunraj Singh.
"We don't have to just feed them as we do in poultry. We don't have to do much. They are very hardy birds," he added.
Emu farming is not labour-intensive and it is compatible with rearing other livestock.
The birds are also said to be highly disease-resistant.
In winter, female emus lay eggs after a gap of every three days. Using an incubator/hatchery, eggs hatch in 49 to 52 days. Areas with water availability in abundance are appropriate to practice this unique farming.
Emus need space to roam freely and if cornered, they can get aggressive by kicking their feet at the target. An area of 3,000 square feet is considered optimum for raising five pairs of Emus.
From a 14 to18-month-old bird, 20 Kilogram of flesh and at least four litres of oil can be derived.
According to the American Cardiac Association, emu meat is very healthy and contains very low amounts of fat and cholesterol.
Moreover, emu oil estimated to be highly medicinal is gaining its popularity in the pharmaceutical industry and is priced around Rs 4,500 per litre.
Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), a flightless bird, is also the largest bird in Australia and the second largest in the world after its distant cousin, the ostrich.
It can reach up to 6 ft (2m) in height and 66-100 pounds (30-45 kilograms) in weight. (ANI)