Ostrich Farming Business: How to Start an Ostrich Farm


The ostrich is the largest flightless egg laying bird alive today. It is indigenous to Trans Sahara Africa and North Africa with a common order as the Kiwi, Cassowaries, Rheas and Emu.
The bird is huge, beefy and has a very high commercial value, especially the farmed or hand reared ones. Ostrich farming is highly lucrative considering production opportunities of every aspect of the bird.
The meat is identical to beef except a little redder and is loaded with health benefits. Ostrich farming has other benefit like low, fat, low cholesterol, large edible eggs.
Others are derivatives like oils, feathers, meat and its ability to live long. Ostriches have been with us for over 5000 years if the paintings on the walls of caves are true.
The pictures show domesticated ostriches used as sport. But today's ostrich farming can be traced back to150 years ago.
The bird’s natural instinct is flight when threatened but becomes a formidable adversary if cornered. They become aggressive and have a deadly kick so farm handlers take extra care when handling the bird.
 Did you know that the Ostrich kick can kill a grown man? They are nomadic in nature cover vast distances and are foragers.
 Their adaptability has made ostriches common in over 59 countries around the world. They also adapt easily to both hot and cold weather regions such as the desert.
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The African ostrich
Description
Ostrich chicks are identified by their dark brownish spots. They grow at an incredible 10 inches per month and attaining a growth of 47kg to 50kg within a single year.
A young female is identified because of the grayish brown and white plumage. While adult’s ostrich feathers are usually black with white tail feathers.
The male’s thighs and neck are dark grey while the females have pink necks. They have very acute eyesight and spot enemies or prey great distances.
 Their natural enemies are the big cats like lions, tigers and other predators like coyote. They have the ability to out run their enemies by sprinting with their long two toed legs. They run an astonishing speed of 70km/ph and can maintain it for 50km.
They have long necks devoid of feathers, small head and enormous beak. The mouth is toothless and they can grow to heights of up to 8ft and weigh 65kg to 150kg. And their two toes gives them good balance in desert conditions
Ostrich Mating and Nest
Mating
Ostrich reaches sexual maturity within 2 to 5 years and weigh between 65kg to 150kg and live up to 68 years in captivity. They are nomadic by nature but can be highly territorial and fight rigorously for mating rights.
 The alpha male mates with several females however pair bond with only one female. The mating ritual consists of a series of dances.
 The ostrich reaches full sexual maturity in 3 to 4 years although some mate earlier. The mating season usually lasts from March to September.
Nesting
The male ostrich usually digs the ground in preparation for the eggs. The nest varies in dept and sizes some measuring between 15cm to 25cm long and 14cm to 22cm deep.
The females all lay their eggs in a communal pit sometime numbering 20 eggs in one pit. For the purpose of farming ostriches the farmer is advised to use incubators for better result. Despite the fact that the eggs are clustered in one nest each female ostrich easily identifies her young.
ostrich egg
The Ostrich Egg
The ostrich egg has a thick shell and weighs about 15kg. It is usually oblong shaped creamed colored and has a nesting period that ranges between 36 to 48 days.
In the wild only 10% of the eggs manage or survives the hatching process. In a controlled environment up to 65% survive the transition.
Both male and female ostriches alternate their parental duties. The female sits on the eggs during the day while the male sits on them at night.
Their unique plumage allows this adoption as defense mechanisms against predators. An ostrich can lay up to 90 eggs within a year.
Habitat
The ostrich originated from Sahara Africa but can be found in East Africa, North Africa. Other countries are South Africa, India and United States of America. 
Today they are found in desert semi-desert and cold regions, because of their adaptability to extreme environments. Some have even become native to Asia and Arabia. They are wide spread in over 50 countries, they are easily farmed anywhere in the world.
Feeding
In the wild the ostrich feeds on insects like locusts, grass, shrubs, flowers, seeds and animal feed concentrates. Farmers can feed the ostrich with poultry feeds or specially formulated ostrich feeds.
Manufactured feed are high in nutrients that aid rapid growth. There is starter mesh, grow out mesh and adult mesh feed is given to the ostriches in every stage of their development.
 Ostriches don’t possess teeth so they rely on pebbles and sand to break down food. They gather them in their large gizzards to grind up the food which in turn is swallowed in a ball.
Ostriches are well adapted to extreme environments so they can go without water for several days. They also eat leguminous grass which helps in the digestive process
Economic Benefit of Ostriches
We have said earlier that ostrich meat is good to eat since it is low in fat, low in cholesterol and has high nutritional properties. They are easy to raise, resistant to diseases and live long lives.
Almost the entire ostrich has great economic value. The Feathers are used to make cushion pillow, hats and decorations.
The skin is used to make leather bags, shoes and is believed to be one of the finest leathers around. Oils extracted are good for cosmetics and skin disorders while the meat has very high nutritional value.
 It also has protein, calcium and iron including of the low fat/cholesterol. Ostriches are easy to farm than chickens or goats or even cows.
 Cattle farming have a long turn around period while livestock are prone to various diseases. Ostrich meat yield is better than cows or live stock.
Ostrich chicks are sold as high as $150 while an adult can go for as much as $1000. Another advantage is their longevity and they lay about 90 eggs they also reach full maturity within 2 years reach 50kg very quickly..
Farming Ostriches
You need lots of land running into 3 acres well fenced with corrugated iron sheets. The fence should have barbed wire and at least 5.8ft high.
Brooding chicks grow out are isolated in well fenced pens or a very large barn. You should develop a good breading program, have adequate source of water and incubator for the hatchery.
You need good quality poultry feed, medication and a qualified veterinarian doctor. Ostrich farming is lucrative business venture for entrepreneur.
Amount of meat between cow/ostrich
Gestation
cow 278 days
ostrich 40
offspring
1
20
slaughter
640
402
feed conversion
5to1
2to1
(meat )kg
1900
1200
Species
Although ostriches have a common ancestry they have slight variations in plumage, sizes, behavior and habitat. Listed below are a few species of ostrich.
Subspecies
1 S.Struthio Common Ostrich
2 S.C.Autsralis South African ostrich
3 S.C. Camelus North Afican ostrich
Asia ostrich
4 S.C Massaicus East African ostrich
5 S.C Syriacus Arab ostrich, Middle East
6 Massi SC Molybdophanes
7 East Africa ostrich
Conclusion
To start your ostrich farm buy a large parcel of land. Get lots of funding for your business and register your business name.
Write a comprehensive business plan to guide your enterprise. Buy ostrich species that do well in your area or locality.
You need to decide if you want to farm ostrich for meat or other aspects. Ostrich farming is capital intensive and you might need local government license to operate.
Do effective marketing to reach potential customers.

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