One of Queensland's only emu farms has hit the market as the owners reveal their expansion plans nearby.
The famous farm at Marburg off the Warrego Highway, which has introduced kids, tourists and the health conscious to Australia's famous fauna since 1995, was recently listed by Emu Heaven owners Steve and Sarah Schmidt - minus the birds.
The growing emu oil and meat business prompted the Schmidts to buy two blocks across 90 hectares down the road at Coleyville and relocate.
The plan to make Emu Heaven bigger and better was hatched eight years ago when the pair began struggling to meet demand for emu oil.
"Steve came up to me and he said, 'Sarah, we've got a problem. We can't take any more customers on board. We can just service the regulars because we won't have enough oil'," Mrs Schmidt said.
"We tried that, but people told other people to come see us and we were trying to say, 'No, sorry, we can't take any more people on board'.
"How do you say no? I can't do it. You (Steve) can't do it, so we better bite the bullet and look at buying more land."
Mrs Schmidt said customers' success with the oil's anti-inflammatory properties, among others, was the push they needed.
"Sometimes we've had to hold the walls together, but somebody would ring us up and thank us for what we've done, so we'd run another 100 miles because of that."
With the 3000 birds now settled in their new home, the Coleyville base is being renovated and the owners will eventually move the Marburg shopfront there too.
"We're working towards opening up the farm to the public and have plenty of parking so people will be able to bring a picnic and see the birds," Mrs Schmidt said.
Mrs Schmidt said their birds' ability to feed and soothe people made them special and they planned to grow their mob to 4000 in the future.
Mr Schmidt said keeping them longer than what was typical ensured a better oil and meat product.
"To get the best quality of oil, instead of processing the birds at 18 months of age to two years, we let them go through a breeding season where they're laying eggs, re-fatten them, and then process them before their second breeding season," he said.
"If you have a young bird at 18 months of age, it's more gamey, but if you go an extra year, the meat is actually a nicer meat."
Emu Heaven operates an onsite rendering and production facility that handles all fat collected at slaughter to be made into oils, creams and soaps.
All carcasses are processed to remove the meat into fan fillets, oyster fillets, mixed cuts and mince which is packaged and sold frozen to a meat wholesaler.
While tough for their shopfront, COVID restrictions did allow the public to try more of their meat.
"We haven't had our top line steaks available for the public or ourselves, but because of COVID with the restaurants closing, [the wholesaler] couldn't take any more of our steaks, so we put it out to the public and the public got to enjoy it," Mrs Schmidt said.
As offices, rest areas and roads go in, Mrs Schmidt has turned her attention to the shop and online side of the business, launching a new line of beauty products in collaboration with a nearby camel farmer.
The range of hair and skin care products combine emu oil and camel milk, which she says combines the goodness of omega fatty acids with amino acids.
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