Emu Oil Is Rendered From The Fat Of An Emu
Emu Oil is rendered from the fat of an Emu. In the United States, this is done at USDA-certified facilities. When an emu is processed for its meat at 12-16 months of age, there is a thick layer of fat along its back between the skin and muscle and some in the body cavity. The fat is then vacuum sealed and frozen for shipment to another USDA-certified oil rendering facility.
While the meat is red and tastes like beef, it is 97% fat-free. What fat it has contains lots of Omega 3 (like deep water fish), making it heart-healthy. This means people with heart problems who have been instructed not to eat beef can still have a burger on the grill. Additionally, the protein is not mammalian, so people with Alpha-Gal Allergy can eat it. When processing, the bird has a layer of fat that can be 4-5 inches thick and weigh 25 pounds or more across its back. This separate layer, along with any other body fat, is vacuum sealed and immediately frozen. The fat is then shipped to a specialty oil lab for rendering and refining.
The Totally Usable Bird
Many people find it disturbing that the birds must be killed to extract the oil. We can only assure you that birds on our farm and the other small farms we use are all treated with respect and affection. We all ensure that the birds have lots of sun, room to run, healthy food, freshwater, and plenty of interaction with people, which they seem to love. When they are processed, we do our best to make the total loading, transportation, and slaughter as humane as possible and then use as much of the bird as possible.
Feathers go to crafters and fly-tie fishermen; hides, bones, organs, and trim bits go to raw dog food makers; the meat is helping many people eat healthily, and the oil is helping thousands of people with muscle and joint pain and skin problems from soothing radiation treatment burns to lupus rashes.
In the spirit of our native American people, we honor the birds and are grateful for their gifts. The truth is that these birds are a gift to humanity. Between the unique properties of the meat and oil, they offer us many miraculous products. When asked why we became emu farmers, we tell people that initially, it was because we fell for the birds. They are quirky and fun to be around. But we stayed with this when we saw how much the products could help many people.
Over the 20-plus years of farming, we found that our birds had become easier to work with and looked for more affection at younger ages. I mentioned this once to a friend, and she responded that it made perfect sense because she was confident that our birds' spirits would reincarnate on our farm repeatedly. That was why they seemed to recognize us so quickly. It made me feel better. It's not easy being a farmer, but I feel fortunate that I had the experience.