Ostriches are large flightless birds endemic to the African continent. These birds are raised commercially for their hides and their plumes. Their plums and hides are especially useful in making leather wears and accessories.
The above is not the only thing the ostrich has been found to be useful for. As food, ostrich meat is a delicacy worldwide and is considered an healthy choice of food. Thanks to this, they are served in several dishes in many upscale restaurants around the world. Ostrich eggs are also cooked and eaten in many parts of South Africa.
It is therefore no surprise that ostriches are reared in several parts of Africa and recently, in America.
But starting an ostrich farm is nowhere near as easy as reaping the rewards of it. There are many decisions to be taken before delving into the business. You would need the technical know-how and the proper guide to making sure that starting your own ostrich farm is not a failure waiting to happen.
Ostrich Farming: An Introduction
Until early in the 21st century, farming of ostriches has always been a South African thing. It was quite recently that ostrich farming became a thing that is practiced globally.
If you have always been interested in the concept of farming but have always been concerned about the challenges you would likely face in cattle rearing or sheep rearing, you might want to try out something new.
Pound for pound, ostrich rearing isn’t nearly as difficult as cattle rearing and the potential profits are not so far off either. So, the conclusion of this is that you might be better off starting and managing an ostrich farm than a cattle ranch.
An important thing to note when comparing cattle rearing and ostrich rearing is that ostriches take up less space and consume less food than cattle. That is, you can reap optimal gains while spending fewer resources.
Despite the many benefits of ostrich rearing I have mention so for, managing an ostrich farm is by no means easy. It comes with its own Pandora box of challenges.
The following are eight things to consider when starting an ostrich farm;
1. The Sort Of Ostrich Products You Want To Sell
There are several things you can sell when you raise ostriches; they include:
- Mature birds
- Ostrich chicks
- Ostrich meat
- Ostrich eggs
Whichever one of the above items you decide to sell will depend on the available market for that commodity and the resources at your disposal.
For example, if you wish to sell ostrich meat, you would need a processor for the meat and hides. If you do not want to go through this stress, you can just choose to sell eggs, feathers, chicks or mature birds. You would still make profits either way.
2. Enough Land For Your Ostrich Farm
Although Ostriches take far less space than cattle, they still require a lot of land under their feet. A lot of space is essential for an Ostrich’s hygiene and health.
FarmAndAnimals recommends that a mature ostrich be given at least 1 to 3 acres of space.
3. The type of shelter your ostriches need
Depending on the size of ostrich herd, you would need to construct a shelter for them. A three-sided shed is recommended as it can accommodate a large number of birds.
The shed must be at least 12 feet high as ostriches can stand up to eight feet high. The purpose of the shed is to protect your ostriches from weather elements like rain, extreme sunshine and othet potentially damaging elements.
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4. Fencing For Your Ostriches
In order to keep predators out and keep your ostriches confined, you would need to construct a fence.
The best kind of fence for ostrich farming are usually made up of study material that are at least a foot deep in the soil.
We recommend you use welded wire that is at least 9 feet high. This will prevent the ostriches from jumping out.
You can also add a couple of strands of barbed wire along the top of the fence so that predators cannot get in.
5. Source of food for your Ostriches
You would need to supply your birds with commercially prepared ostrich feed. Typically, ostrich feeds come in pellet form and they contain the essential minerals necessary for the proper growth of the ostriches.
Make sure your local feed store is one that is easily accessible and it’s not too far from your ostrich farm.
To complement the Ostrich feed, you should also plant the types of grasses and crops that ostriches will enjoy browsing.
80% of your ostrich diet should come from commercially prepared feed while the remaining 20% should come from fresh produce.
6. A Reliable Source Of Water
Despite being big birds, Ostriches can die from the smallest of things. For example, Ostriches are prone to drowning by ducking their heads or having their heads fall in small amounts of water.
This is why it is up to you to purchase specially designed watering devices that would solve the above problem. You wouldn’t want to lose a bird to something like that, would you?
7. What Type Of Ostrich You Wish To Rear
In Ostrich farming, three types of ostriches are considered. They are as follows:
- African black ostriches
- Red neck ostriches
- Blue neck ostriches
Many ostrich farmers tend to prefer the African black ostrich largely because of its temperament. These birds tend to be docile and easier to handle than the remaining two.
As a beginner, you won’t want to have too much difficulty raising these birds so we recommend you start with the more docile African black ostrich.
How Much Money Can I Make As An Ostrich Farmer?
The amount of money you can make from rearing ostriches depends on the cost of expenditure and the amount you sell the mature bird.
In ostrich farming, you will likely spend money on such things as:
- Veterinary care
- Land purchase
- Start up stock
The amount of money spent on the above varies with several factors like the price of land in your region or the cost of vet care.
Regardless, a mature ostrich can fetch you as much as 40,000 US Dollars per sale. Ostrich eggs cost on average $30. Depending on how much effort you put into farming and how much stock you realize at the end of the day, you could earn hundred of thousands of dollars annually.
How Much Will It Cost Me To Open An Ostrich Farm?
Again, cost in this sense depends on several factors that are often out of your control.
For example, the cost of land in your region could vary as much as 10 times that of someone living in another region.
Again, the choice of startup stock is also something to be concerned about. If you choose to start with ostrich eggs which you then incubate and raise into mature eggs for example, there’s lesser money spent than when you purchase chicks or even mature ostriches.
On an average, it costs somewhere between $60 and $70 per month to feed and care for ostriches when they are chicks. This amount gradually increases to $100 as they become more mature.
So there you have it folks, your ultimate guide on how to start an ostrich farm has just been written.
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