Licence to farm emus

Find out how to apply for a licence to farm emus.

Emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) are the largest Australian native birdEmus can be bred commercially for their meat, skin, oil, eggs and feathers. All birds used for commercial emu farming must be derived from farm-reared or captive stock.

Emus are protected in New South Wales by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act). It is illegal to take emus or emu eggs from the wild.

When you need a licence

You need a biodiversity conservation licence, granted under the BC Act, to farm emus for commercial purposes.

An emu farmer licence allows you to possess, buy or sell live captive emus and emu eggs.

When you don’t need a licence

You don’t need a licence to possess, buy or sell the meat, skin, oil or other products derived from an emu that was lawfully killed for the purposes of sale.

Apply for an emu farmer licence

To apply for a licence to farm emus, contact us at to obtain an application form.

As part of your application, you’ll need to describe the premises on which you intend to farm emus, including details of fencing and other facilities. Prospective emu farming premises will be inspected before a licence is granted.

A licence will cost $400 and the licence term is 1 year.

Throughout the period of your licence you must record the movement of each emu in and out of the premises. We will provide you with a record book. Contact us at:

You need to submit your records to us at the end of the term of your licence.

You’ll also need to include your records with your application to renew or cancel your licence. If you fail to provide annual records your licence renewal application may be refused.

To hold a licence, you must comply with the Emu Farmer Licence Conditions (PDF 134KB).

This requires you to follow criteria relating to stock origin, establishment and maintenance of the premises on which you intend to farm emus, including enclosures, and animal welfare.

In addition, you need to comply with the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Husbandry of Captive-bred Emus. This code covers basic requirements for the wellbeing of farmed emus, including protection from predators, disease, extremes of climate, as well as pain, distress, suffering and injury.

You are also required to maintain an up-to-date emu record book.

We will forward you a licence renewal notice before the expiry date of your licence, but the onus is on you to renew.

Renewals cost $250 for 1 year.

Renewal of your licence is dependent upon submission of your annual records.