A special diet similar to poultry feed specifications, supplemented with farm grown lucerne and other pasture, is fed at each of the different stages of growth.

Anatomical studies have revealed that the digestive system of emus comprises an oesophagus, proventriculus, gizzard, a small intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum), caeca, rectum and cloaca. In this respect they are similar to poultry with the exception that they have no distinct crop.

Energy Ingredients high in carbohydrates and/or fats are energy sources and include the cereal grains and full-fat soybean meal, for example.

Protein Feed protein is broken down in the intestines into its constituent amino acids which may then be absorbed into the blood and used for muscle growth. Thus the emus requirement for protein is in effect a requirement for amino acids and so, it is the amino acid composition of the feed that is the crucial factor. There are more than 20 amino acids of which about 11 cannot be manufactured by the emu and must therefore be present in the feed. Of this methionine, lysine, theonine, isoleucine and tryptophan are likely to be in shortest supply in emu diets.

Vitamins These are substances distinct from protein, carbohydrate or fat but which are essential in small amounts for normal growth, development and health. They must be present in the diet although some vitamins may be obtained by coprophagy or be synthesised by micro-organisms in the intestinal tract.

Minerals These are essential for normal growth, development and health. They must be present in the diet either in relatively small amounts, for example calcium, phosphorus, manganese, sodium and chloride or only trace amounts, for example potassium, iron, copper, iodine, zinc, selenium.