Giant birds do exist! They just don’t take flight anymore. Ostriches are long necked, long legged “giant” birds and are the largest living species of birds in the world. These amazing creatures can run 40 miles per hour, grow up to eight feet tall and live to be over 50 years old!
The farming of Ostriches is found all over the world. Ostriches are farmed for a few different reasons, one of which might not sit well for vegetarians: ostrich meat is considered a healthy red meat. Ostrich meat is low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol and a healthier choice to red and white meat from cows and chickens.
Not only are ostrich feathers very desirable, the bird’s leather is soft, supple and strong—more so than other leather products. This leather is recognized for its distinctive quill patterns. The majority of ostrich farming revenue will come from leather production and ostrich meat.
While ostrich feathers and ostrich oil can be sold as products, in order to make just one complete order, many livestock are required. Given the number of livestock it takes to fill the demand of oil and feather products, it is hard to make a lot of money focusing on just this type of ostrich farming.
Ostriches are very fertile birds and can produce about 40 offspring annually. Given that the bird’s gestation period is about 42 days and that ostriches can be bred for over 30 years, it’s little wonder ostrich farming is seen as a promising industry—perhaps an even more lucrative opportunity than farming cattle.
Ostriches can breed in pairs, in trios or in colonies. A male ostrich can offer services to 2 or 3 females with ease while the females lays eggs in clutches and on a regular basis. The female will lay eggs for a period of time and then take a break before resuming.
Another development that has been taking place is the creation of environmentally friendly ostrich farming. The farming practices are kinder to the animal and friendly to the environment. There are no steroids, antibiotics, or hormones used nor are animals force-fed against their will. Ostriches are free roaming and eat natural ostrich food. While the birds in ostrich farming are still slaughtered and sold as products, some animal rights groups appreciate the difference in farm practices. Especially compared to how rough chickens and cows have it on typical commercial farms.
Problems associated with ostrich farming include farmers feeding the birds poorly or improperly and finding cheap feed. Marketing is also a problem, as many farmers don’t know how to sell ostrich products.
These are amazing animals whether you love learning and watching them or as a productive alternative to cattle farming. Ostrich farming is a fascinating and lucrative industry.