Ostrich belongs to the family of giant birds known as Struthio camelus; Ostrich is a wild bird that modern science has succeeded in domesticating. The Ostrich is the largest ever-living bird.
Although flightless, the bird is able to take 3.5m (12-feet) strides and to run at a sustained speed of 50 km/h (30mph) for 15 minutes or more in short distance run, it may reach 70km/h (43mph) especially, when escaping from predators.
The head is small, with large eyes and a short, flat bill. Its body is covered with large, soft, loosely structured feathers that easily get wet during the rain. Ostriches are the only living birds that eliminate their urine separately from their faeces unlike other birds.
Ostrich live in mostly desert, open country, where they feed on succulent plants like the xerophytes in the desert, fruits, grasses, and leaves as well as insects, frogs, rat, lizards, birds and mice.
The most common mating pattern is one male and three females in a family unit, though this may change as result of some other factors.
An investor who really wants to go into this business will need at least half plot of land. The land should be fenced only to prevent the birds from moving away on their own from the farm.
The fencing can be made with blocks or preferably thick wire gauze as this allows tourist to see animals, which is the main attraction.
The roof should be left open, as the bird cannot fly. It is also important that some tree shrubs are left in the farm, which could serve as sheds to the birds during hot weather.
Mostly, Ostrich feeds on leaves, fruits, grains, small animals (rat, etc) and tubers like cassava, cocoyam, potatoes, yam and enough water. Today, we have very good feed-mix that can be formulated from feed mill centers to boost fast growth.
Concerning mortality rate, as the largest bird in the world, Ostrich has the strongest body immunity to diseases more than any other bird in existence. They are given no steroid, hormones, chemicals or vaccines.
After about 18-months, the laying of eggs start for domesticated birds, fertilization of egg is internal. A bird well cared for can lay up to 60-eggs in a year, and each egg is as big as children football.
Benefits of Ostrich Farming
Although many people are unaware, Ostriches produce more meat than cattle and contains the least fat, calories and cholesterol of all meats (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, goat and turkey).
Because they are not as common as other meats, Ostrich produce fetches a very high price. They can be slaughtered between 8-18months. In a world that is more than likely to switch to low-calorie and healthier meats in the near future, Ostrich farmers are positioning themselves to cash in on the huge opportunity. Ostrich farming is a big vision for a big bird that brings in big profit.
With the continuing decline in the consumption of red meat in favor of low fat alternatives, the Ostrich meat is in fact, “the meat for the millennium”. A high-priced exotic meat attractive to health-conscious consumers in the affluent world.
Read Also: Feed and Nutrition Management for Cattle
From selling the eggs an investor has started making money. Each fertile egg is sold for between N30,000 to N40,000. Then if the egg is hatched, (which is 42 to 45 days) the young bird is sold for about N80,000.
Then if the bird is about 6-months old it is sold for between N180,000 and N200,000. Ostrich are probably the least farmed birds in the world. This is quite shocking given the amazing features of the Ostrich that makes it such a lucrative agricultural venture.
Apart from the meat, which is very low in cholesterol and high in protein. It is excellent for hypertensive cases and for those watching weight. The feathers are bought for decoration, while the skin is highly priced for ostentatious leather works.
Apart from the above needs, It is an animal of unique feature and this makes the animal tradable for tourist uses. Various zoos, holiday resorts, big Hotels, Children amusement parks across the world demand ostrich for tourist needs.