Monday, June 24, 2024
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Big bird benefits

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Guwahati-based veterinary college student Fertile CG Diengdoh on the economics of emu farming

 MEAT-LOVING Meghalaya depends on markets and suppliers beyond to meet its requirement. More and more people are taking to poultry, but the future for them is in a big bird Down Under.

     Emus are large native birds of Australia and second largest in the world next to the ostrich. They are farmed for their meat, oil and leather besides yielding a lean meat with good marketing potential. When compared to other livestock and poultry, emus have several advantages for they are hardy birds with good disease resistance.

     Emu farms can be small. Less land is required for their housing compared to other livestock. No grazing of the birds is required unlike in the case of sheep, goat and cattle; they don’t need expensive sheds like poultry either. Just four or five pairs of birds can sustain a farm.

     There are other advantages too. Emu farming is less labour-intensive. The birds adapt very well to all types of climatic conditions and can provide a variety of products such as meat, oil, skin, feather, blown-out egg shell, nails, claws, etc. Moreover, emu farming can be used to supplement existing business.

      Unlike other livestock, emus have no biological production limits for breeders. There is no hassle for consumption of its meat unlike beef and pork. Emus are efficient converters of feed containing non-edible items into meat. They consume leaves, seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., in addition of feed. Domestic and international meat markets are unexploited. And they are less polluting compared to other livestock.

     Most importantly, emu involve less capital and guarantee substantial returns on investment.

Benefits

Emu farming will augment rural and urban household income, will provide nutritious, tasty and versatile meat for millions, will generate direct and indirect tic and pharmaceutical industries, will provide opportunities for traders of skins, bones, oil and meat, and will open export opportunities for both meat and oil.

     Emu oil has anti-inflammatory properties, moisturizing, cholesterol reducer, bacteriostatic penetration enhancer, significant epidermal proliferative activity and significant wound-healing agent. It significantly reduces keloid scarring, appears to promote faster healing of burns with less pain, and it is an excellent emulsifier.

     Research has revealed emu oil serves as excellent medicine for arthritis. It is also used as painkiller and as ointment for various cosmetic products.

     Emu leather is used for manufacturing small items such as leather, shoes and decorative purpose. The bird’s meat is rich in protein, iron and is 98% fat free.

Requirements

Land: Non-agricultural or dry land, land with plantations like the guava, mango, lemon, palm, etc., can be used for emu farming

Funds: Sum to buy the chicks and feed them for the first two-three years

Infrastructure: Well planned appropriate facilities for long term investments and returns from the enterprise

Commitment: Right mental attitude and love for emus is required besides working knowledge of their farming 

     Emu farming is great for opening up job opportunities that will contribute to the overall economy of the State besides providing bio-security since recurrent bird flu hits poultry farmers these days.

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