Ostriches differ from ordinary poultry primarily in their huge size. This is not a quail! The dimensions of a male African black ostrich, namely, they are most often bred on home farms, reach 2.7 m in height, and weigh up to 150 kg. Females are slightly smaller – up to 2 m and 120 kg. It is clear that the “chicken coop” for such birds should be appropriate.
One adult ostrich requires at least 10 square meters of space! Otherwise, the birds will be very uncomfortable. This is the first difficulty in creating an ostrich farm. In winter, ostriches need a house with a height of at least 3 m, solid, spacious, with a floor covered with straw or shavings. A part of the floor must be left for backfilling with sand, because sand baths are necessary for ostriches.
In summer, birds are kept in open pens. The height of the fence should be at least 2–2.5 m so that ostriches cannot jump over it. Around the perimeter of such a corral, sheds with feeders are built at a height of at least a meter, preferably one and a half. For ostriches, make feeders lower. It is advisable that the owners do not have to go into the pen every time to add food.
Important! Ostriches quickly get used to certain people caring for them. Changing farm personnel can be a problem, birds, especially males, especially during the mating season, will aggressively accept newcomers.
In addition to the need to build a large poultry house and a pen, at the first stage of organizing an ostrich farm, you will have large expenses for the bird itself. An ostrich cub at the age of 8 days will cost 10 thousand rubles. For a family, one adult male and two female ostriches at the age of 4 years, you will have to pay about 270-300 thousand rubles. The hatching egg of the largest bird on the planet costs from 3 thousand rubles.
Expensive, yes. However, an ostrich farm pays off quickly. Remember that not only meat and eggs are valued in these birds, but also skin, feathers, fat and even claws. It turns out almost waste-free production, which will quickly make a profit.
One female ostrich from two to four years of age can lay from 40 to 110 eggs per year. Each table egg costs at least 1,500 rubles. Taking into account the fact that these birds rush for 40 years (they live up to 80 years), the purchase costs are recouped on average in a year or two. In addition, keep in mind that ostrich meat is much more expensive than veal – about 1800 rubles per kilogram of pulp.
In nature, ostriches are omnivorous: they feed on greenery, and rather tough shoots, and lizards, rodents, if caught. Under the conditions of the farm, ostriches are fed with grain, mixed feed, hay, fresh green mass.
At first, ostriches are fed with conventional compound feed for broiler chickens (PC-5). And also fed with cottage cheese, boiled chicken eggs. Then they switch to finishing feed for broiler chickens (PC-6), and from six months old ostriches begin to eat ordinary root crops, including beets and carrots, grass.
It is clear that ostriches eat quite a lot because of their outstanding size – up to 1.5 kg of compound feed per day plus green mass and hay.
There are three ways to keep ostriches on a home farm:
- Intense. Birds are kept in stalls like cattle, so they gain weight faster;
- Extensive. For ostriches, conditions are created that are as close to natural as possible;
- Semi-intensive. Something in between, so that the ostrich is comfortable enough, and he gains weight faster than in natural conditions.
Experts believe that the easiest and fastest way to open an ostrich farm is to buy an adult family. The females themselves will begin to lay their eggs in a hole in the ground dug by the male. And their birds incubate in turn – females sit during the day, at night – the head of the family. The chicks will have to wait 42–45 days. To reduce the risks, fertilized eggs can be placed in an incubator. On average, there are about 60 eggs in a clutch, which allows you to get about 40 ostriches in one season.
Ostriches are sent to slaughter based on weight. When the male has reached a weight of 120 kg, and the female – 100 kg, you can get meat. This usually happens in the second year of the bird’s life. It is not as easy to kill an ostrich as an ordinary chicken or an Indoor, and we still have few specialists in this area. Most often, the bird is stunned with an electric shock or blow to the head, and then the main artery or jugular vein is cut. To remove the skin, the ostrich is hung, everything is done carefully so as not to spoil the valuable product.
Ostrich meat resembles veal, red in color. Low-calorie, dietary, healthy, it is valued not only for its taste, but also for its rich chemical composition.
Opening your own ostrich farm at the first stage is not so easy. And you will have to tinker with this huge bird. But on the other hand, ostriches do not require special food, they grow quickly, and profits are not comparable with other types of poultry..