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Do Emus Lay Eggs?

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Emus are not like most other birds; they do not fly, and they are super large, with ostriches being the only species larger than them.

Since they are pretty unique, you might be wondering if emus lay eggs or not. Well, let us find out.

Do emus lay eggs?

Emus do lay eggs, which have an unusual but striking dark-green color like an avocado.

Emus typically start laying eggs when they reach 16 to 18 months of age, and on average, they produce 20-50 eggs per year.

Emu eggs weigh more than the average chicken egg and they are valued by crafters for their size and color. Emu eggshells are durable and ideal for decorating.

The subsequent paragraphs shed more light on emus and their eggs. We will also find out how many eggs they lay and if emu eggs are edible.

emus in the forest

Do Emus Lay Eggs?

Emus do lay eggs, although they are not as productive as regular poultry birds.

In the summer, emus form breeding pairs and remain together throughout fall when the female emu lays the first clutch of eggs.

The male emu is tasked with building the nest, which he makes from grass, twigs, and leaves where the female lays. 

Over the next couple of weeks, the female emu lays between 5 and 15 avocado-green eggs.

The rate of egg-laying is initially slow, with a few days between the first eggs. The rate then increases to an egg every two days as the end of the clutch approaches.

Once the female emu is finished laying, she wanders off and leaves the male emu alone to incubate the eggs.

Before the breeding season begins, the male emu eats enough food to build up the reserve fat in his body to sustain him throughout the incubation period. The only time he stands up is to tidy the nest and turn the eggs.

The female emu may or may not find another partner to mate with during this period. She may even lay her eggs in the nest of another emu pair leaving that male to do all the work.

In a productive laying season, a female emu produces three complete clutches. So, in total, she can lay up to 50 eggs in one season.

How Big Are Emu Eggs?

The egg of an emu is large and is similar in size to an avocado.

Emu eggs can measure nearly 6 inches in length. However, they are generally smaller than ostrich eggs. Also, a single emu egg has the same volume and weight as 10-12 chicken eggs.

emus with eggs

How Old Must She Be Before a Female Emu Lays Eggs?

Female emus may begin to lay eggs as early as 16-18 months. But in many cases, egg-laying starts when they are 2-3 years old.

When a young female emu begins to lay her eggs, she lays them at random. Then when she reaches maturity, she chooses a nest site where she lays her eggs.

How Many Eggs Do Emus Lay?

Female emus lay an average of 30 eggs every season. They typically remain active layers for up to 20 years, producing about 20-50 eggs per year.

How Long Does It Take for an Emu Egg to Hatch?

It takes about 49-55 days for an emu egg to hatch, with the average incubation period for the egg being 52 days. Although the incubation period is long, it is worth it.

An emu egg can be incubated naturally by the male emu or artificially in an incubator.

When incubated artificially, the time required for an emu egg to hatch is greatly influenced by temperature. Optimal temperatures of 96.5 to 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity around 24-35% will yield an incubation period of 49-52 days.

Can You Eat Emu Eggs?

You can eat emu eggs. The eggs are not only pretty, but they are nutritious as well.

Although emu and chicken eggs taste similar, the yolk of an emu egg is creamier. Compared to chicken eggs, emu eggs contain less of the bad and more of the good cholesterol.

Also, the egg white and yolk ratio of emu eggs differs from that of chicken eggs. While an emu egg contains 55% egg white and 45% yolk, a chicken egg has 65% egg white and 35% yolk.

The durable shell of an emu egg that makes it ideal for crafting also ensures the egg remains fresh for a longer time in your refrigerator.

emus eggs in the nest with antler

As we already mentioned, one emu egg equals 10 normal-sized chicken eggs, and it can feed 3 to 4 people. An emu egg is also large enough to bake a cake.

Interestingly, emu eggs rise a lot when used to bake cakes or make an omelet.

Final Take

Emus lay large, green, avocado-size eggs, which are valued for their size and color by crafters. The eggs are also edible, and they taste just like chicken eggs. However, their yolks are a bit creamier.

Female emus lay an average of 30 eggs every laying season. Then they leave the male emu alone to care for the eggs through the incubation period (typically 49-55 days).


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