Emus suffer in the drought, laying fewer eggs

Despite being extremely hardy animals, the drought has interfered with this year’s emu breeding season with some farmers seeing egg production slashed in half.

Emu farmer Wayne Piltz runs 1,200 birds at his property near Moorook in South Australia, including a 140-strong breeding flock.

He said it certainly was not a good breeding season this year because the birds started laying eggs late and finished early.

“In other years they start in March whereas this year it was late June before we started getting eggs,” Mr Piltz said.

“In an average season we have anywhere between 600 and 800, even up to 1,000 eggs, but this year we only got about 400.

“They won’t breed until they know there is going to be some feed for the chicks when they hatch in spring.”

Emu farmer Phil Henley runs emus near Tooraweenah in central New South Wales and said he felt the impact of the drought at his property.

“Normally in total we get about 4,000 eggs, so we roughly get about 20-23 eggs per female bird — and this year it probably would have been about half that,” Mr Henley said.

Some emu farmers have seen this year’s egg production cut in half.

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