A pair of emu breeders can lay up to 15 eggs in their first year and 20 plus in subsequent years. However this varies from season to season and a budgeted figure of around 8-10 eggs per year is a safer target.
As a food, emu egg is a culinary delight being the equivalent of 10 to 12 standard 50 gram poultry eggs and lighter in consistency. Delicious for use in quiches, omelettes and sponge cakes. (Imagine how many people you could feed with just 1 egg!). If refrigerated, eggs stay fresh for up to one year, which means that continuity of supply can be maintained, even though emus only lay in the winter months.
(As emu eggs are more valuable converted to chickens, availability of eggs for food is strictly limited. They are only obtainable from farmers wanting to impress guests with exotic foods that are not obtainable at restaurants and other food outlets.)
The egg shell itself contains up to seven different shades of colour, ranging from white to deep emerald green, therefore making it ideal for carving. The shell has a smooth surface perfect for painting or sculpture in decorative art work.
At Tjuringa, we are especially conscious of maintaining the involvement of Australian aboriginal people with the emu industry. Consequently we are honoured to have Maurice Mickelo from Wondai in Queensland as the person who carves our emu eggs.
Maurice was born at the Cherbourg Community near Murgon in 1965 and has since spent the last 37 years working and living in many places in Queensland.
Over the years he has:
However it was in 1981 when he discovered his greatest talent when he started working at the Cherbourg Emu Farm. It was here, whilst watching one of the older workers on the farm carving emu eggs with a pocket knife, that he taught himself to carve emu eggs.
You can see from the examples of Maurices’ work included at this site and on the shop pages that Maurice creates carving with amazing detail, which is so lifelike that you can almost feel his images looking at you.
Please visit the shop to see what eggs are currently available or place an order for an egg to be carved. For people interested in learning how to carve Maurice can also be contracted to teach.
BODY SKIN: Emu body skin obtains its distinctive appearance from the raised area surrounding the follicles of the feathers.
It is very supple and soft, yet strong and durable. As such the leather has great potential for use in the fashion industry, in the production of light leather clothing.
LEG SKIN: Leather from the legs of emus is thicker in dimension and is similar in appearance to crocodile skin therefore highly valued for use as trim in clothing, belts, watchbands and as a feature in other accessories such as wallets, attache cases, handbags and shoes
The problem facing emu farmers is producing a large quantity of unblemished A grade skins. At Tjuringa, many of the hides are rejected at slaughter, as they are not of a high enough quality to be capable of being used in the production of high value fashion garments.
At the present time we are investigating the possibilities of getting birds processed “on farm”, rather than being transported to an abattoir. We have now moved into the next stage of getting emu leather garments designed. These will then be used to promote the leather and to attract potential manufacturers.
The emu feather is unique as being the only feather in the world with two feathers coming from a single quill.
Historically the feathers were used in the hats of the Australian Light horseman during World War I.
The potential for these feathers has now expanded. They make an attractive packaging alternative to Styrofoam or paper and are perfect for use in quilts because of their natural insulating qualities. The feathers can also be put to artistic use by fashion designers.