Processing emus is the largest consideration for going into the emu business. Everything else is secondary. Processing emus is also the main activity that affects your emu oil quality. We have received a call more than once from the refinery saying that our rendered oil actually meets AEA specifications BEFORE being refined. We (at the Emu Oil Depot) ALWAYS have it refined regardless, but it is proof that starting with very clean fat will result in a high quality oil.

Remember, blood and meat decomposes and causes all kinds of problems. Pin feathers, etc, do not decompose. So,your time is best spent by insuring there isno blood or meat on the fat you harvest. Pin feathers LOOK as bad as blood and meat on a large piece of fat, but they aren't. It is also easy to filter pinfeathers out. Basically, the cleaner the fat is, the better the oil is.

A MAJOR shortcut and time-saver for processing emus is: After plucking all the feathers, use a BBQ torch to "singe" the pin-feathers, etc. This saves a TON of time and makes the hide much easier and cleaner to remove. The hide can be removed and the "singed" pin feathers will remain in the fat.

A one thousand pound chain hoist is small, low cost (around $40) at a discount tool store or online, and WELL worth the cost. A gambrel is used to hang the carcass (upside down) and the hoist makes it very easy to raise it to a comfortable working height. A battery-powered saws-all is a must as an effective time and trouble saver.

It is reasonably easy to remove the large layer of outer back fat by prying and pulling it from the meat. Cutting the fat off basically insures there will be blood and meat on the fat (which is Undesirable). There will be some cutting necessary and care should be taken NOT to get blood or meat on the fat.

Of course emu meat is healthy and tasty BUT in order to sell it to the public, it must be USDA inspected. It isn't feasible to haul birds to a USDA facility for processing for a couple of good reasons. Emus don't travel in a trailer very well and if it is the hot time of the year, they stress very easily. They always end up cutting each other on top of the back and into the fat. If you haul ten birds for fifty miles in a trailer, if they aren't separated, at least a couple will be badly injured whenyou reach your destination.

If you have a reasonable amount of birds to process, they all need to be wrangled into (and off) a trailer which greatly increases the chance of injury to birds and wranglers. USDA facilities are not concerned about harvesting the fat and that is always an issue. It is almost 100% certain that you'll get less fat when your birds areprocessed at a USDA facility.

SO, it is best to sell your emu meat as pet food. It's a lot like selling the oil. It takes time to build a customer base, but well worth it in the long run because they'll stay with you!

Again, shortcuts make it better for you the rancher AND the birds!