Frequently Asked Questions
Please use the on-line forum to ask additional questions.
The Business of Ostrich
Are Ostriches considered a Livestock?
How are Ostrich males and females refered to?
In the U.S. a male is a rooster and the female a hen.
What are Ostriches primarily raised for?
- Low fat red meat that mimics beef
Is raising Ostrich profitable?
Depends on the rancher, breeder stock, feed costs, incubation skills & producible chicks.
Is the Ostrich meat and products in demand?
What does ostrich meat taste like?
Like beef. Ostrich meat is very lean, and can be cooked in the same manner as beef.
Where can I buy Ostrich meat?
Various Farmer’s markets, some grocery stores, often restaurants or burger spots.
What type of fencing is required?
A strong fence should be 5-6 feet in height. The type depends on where they are located. Various types of fencing such as no-climb, smooth wire, chain link or post and rail can be found on various ostrich ranches.
Is a lot of land required to breed ostrich?
No, ¼ acre generally provides space for a pair or trio.
Do Ostriches require shade?
No. Ostrich can tolerate hot temperatures, but some ranchers provide a shaded area where the ostrich may go if so inclined.
Do ostrich need shelter from the weather?
Not for adult ostriches. They usually just sit down and wait out inclement weather. Shelters may be used to protect their food and them in especially cold climates.
What do Ostriches eat?
Ostrich eat grains, such as milo, corn and alfalfa. Smaller ranchers can get pellets specifically for ostrich from their local feed store. All the recognized brands make feed in 50 lb. bags for Ostrich.
Where is the best place to learn about ostrich ranching?
Start with the AOA website to get an insight on the industry. Use the new on-line forum to ask questions. Members of the Association have a great wealth of experience and information to share.
About the Ostrich
To what family do Ostrich belong?
Ostriches are of the Ratite family, which means flightless bird.
Are there different types of Ostrich?
Yes, there are three different subspecies that inhabit the African continent. In the U.S. many have been cross bred to produce large and friendly birds.
Is Ostrich the largest living bird in the world?
Where are Ostrich normally found?
The Ostrich is native to Africa, yet thrives in countries all over the world.
How big do Ostriches get?
Many Ostrich Roosters are eight to nine feet in height and weigh 350-400 pounds. Hens often weigh 300-350 pounds.
How do you tell males from females?
The male is black with white wing tips and tail plumes. The female has light brown and gray plumage. When in season, the males will have bright red beaks, shins and sometimes neck.
Is there any thing that makes Ostriches unique from all other birds, besides not being able to fly?
Ostrich have two toes, Other birds have three or four toes.
How fast can Ostriches run?
The Ostrich can run at speeds of up to 40 MPH for sustained times.
How long does an Ostrich live?
An Ostrich will live to be 50 – 75 years old.
How fast do Ostriches grow?
An Ostrich chick grows one foot taller each month until it is 7-8 months old, then progresses slower and is fully grown at 12 to 14 months.
Why do Ostriches bury their head in the sand?
They don’t. Ostriches dig a disk shaped nest in the ground. Sometimes from a distance, it may appear that they are burying their head because it can’t be seen when they are tending the nest. Also when a Hen is sitting on the nest she lays her head on the ground when she detects a predator coming. From a distance her back appears to be a rock thus camouflaging the nest. This is also mistaken for the head in the sand myth.
Are ostriches dangerous?
They are not any more dangerous than many other large animal livestock. However the Rooster (male) is territorial especially during breeding season. At that time he is guarding the nest and eggs from possible predators. With proper care, most producers soon learn how to handle and manage such roosters to prevent harm.
About Ostrich Eggs
How big are Ostrich eggs?
Although an ostrich egg is the largest of all eggs, it is the smallest egg in relation to the size of the bird. The Ostrich egg will weigh 1600 – 2300 gm (about 3.5 to 5 pounds) and is equivalent in volume to 2 dozen chicken eggs.
How many eggs do Ostriches lay?
An Ostrich Hen can lay 40 – 60 eggs per year, averaging about 45-50 eggs per year.
How long does it take Ostrich eggs to hatch?
Ostrich eggs hatch in 42 days when incubated.
Who hatches the Ostrich eggs?
In the wild or leaving eggs in the nest, Hens sit on eggs by day; Roosters sit on eggs by night. In a farming environment, incubators are used.
How long does it take to cook Ostrich eggs?
To soft boil a fresh egg would take one hour. To hard boil would take 1½ hours.