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Ostrich Parenting

user888229 replied the topic: Ostrich Parenting

In the wild, several hens may lay eggs in the same nest. One dominant female will incubate the eggs in the nest, along with the male. Many ostrich farmers and ranchers have differing views on whether to pair one hen and one male together in a breeding pen, or whether one male can have 2 to 3 hens in his pen. Ostrich eggs are generally taken by the farmer and incubated artificially to ensure a better hatch rate and prevent unintended catastrophes from occurring with the entire nest full of eggs. There are also ostrich farms and ranches where the ostriches are kept in colony pens which allows several males and hens to be in the same enclosure. Those farmers utilize colonies to improve the fertility rate of the eggs by having several males available to service the hens in the colony. However, there is usually a tradeoff of having fewer eggs produced in colony breeding operations than when the birds are kept in pairs or trios. Your questions sound as if you are intending to allow the ostriches to incubate their own eggs and hatch them. In such a circumstance, individual pairs in each breeding pen would likely be preferable. Multiple hens and males in the same pen can cause problems when allowing the birds to incubate and hatch the eggs on their own. For instance, the other hens may continue laying eggs in the nest that the dominant hen is incubating. Those eggs would be added to the incubation time frame at a later point than the others--thereby having chicks hatch before other eggs are even close to having completed incubation. After hatching, the adults that did not incubate the eggs will not consider the chicks to be their own and will likely harm the small babies--not to mention that the pair that incubated and hatched the eggs will fight off all other adult ostriches that come close to the chicks.
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Frank created the topic: Ostrich Parenting

In ostrich ranching, is there a proper ratio of roosters to hens? I ask because apparently the roosters and hens take turns laying on their eggs depending on whether it is day or night. So if there is one rooster and two hens, would the rooster just lay on one nest of eggs during the night, and the hen would leave her other nest uncovered?

A further question: Are rooster/hen pairs faithful to each other? Meaning, if we had two roosters and two hens, would the rooster know which is his nest that he would need to take care of, and always stay with his own mate?
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