The Approved Overview Of Ostrich Production 2023 |Ostrich Farming Guide|

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The ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a large flightless bird native to southern Africa. It is the only living member of the genus Struthio. Other running birds often ranched include:–Kiwi (New Zealand), Emu (Australia), Rhea (South America) and Cassowary  (New Guinea & Australia). Ostrich is largest living bird and lays the largest eggs of any species.

The ostrich’s diet consists of mainly plant matter + some invertebrates. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick of its powerful legs (powerful enough to split a man from top to bottom).

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Overview Of Ostriches

•They differ from other birds: Has only two toes (instead of three); flightless

•Territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females

•Adult Ostrich weighs  63 – 145 kg

•Height at sexual maturity (2-4 years) can be up to 2.8 for males and 2.0m for females

•Their lifespan is up to 40–45 years

Young chicks

–fawn in colour, with dark brown spots, grow very fast

–weigh approximately 45 kg at 1 year

Adult males

–mostly black, with white primaries and a white tail

Adult females and young males

–are greyish-brown in colour

•The head and neck of both male and female ostriches is nearly bare, with a thin layer of down

•The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is pinkish grey, while the male’s is mostly blue-grey

•Neck and thigh muscles are well developed and un-feathered (bare)

•Lives in nomadic groups of 5-50 birds

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Male and female ostriches

Adaptation to predation

•Major predators – cheetahs, lions, leopards, hunting dogs, spotted hyenas


–Height – 2-3m

–Acute eyesight and hearing

–High running speed – > 70 km/h and can maintain a steady speed of 50 km/h; strides of 6-8m long

–Hiding from predators

–Fighting – forward kick of up to 225kg


•Open habitats and poorly vegetated

–Semi-arid, open and short-grass plains are usually associated with the highest ostrich densities

•The challenge of the ostrich is that it is

–xeric, flightless and very large

–it cannot fly to far away water sources

Adaptation to aridity


•Large surface area to volume ratio – less evaporative water loss

•High water intake

•Specialised excretory organs  (coprodeum and cloaca) for net water conservation

•Metabolic water production mechanism as a source of hydration

•Food – consume succulent plant parts

Adaptation to heat stress

•Feather fluffing – increases convective heat loss at high ambient temperatures

•Panting – no sweat glands; evaporative heat (and water) loss from its respiratory surfaces

•In cold temperatures the ostrich utilizes feather flattening; covering its bare legs using the wings; pilo-erection and shivering

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Uses of the Ostrich wings

•Uses of the wings

–Temperature control

–display purposes – courting, submission, aggression

–protecting eggs and young ostriches

•Confidence and aggression

–bird will hold its head and neck high, with the front of the body tilted upwards and the tail up


–bird will hold its head low and its tail down

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Behaviour and Adaptation

•Diurnal birds

–travelling in search of food and water

–dust-bathing, resting or nesting

•During the night

–they completely rest

•Like camels, ostriches can travel for long distances in search of food and water

The chicks and juveniles

–are strictly gregarious and always remain in compact groups


–are semi gregarious and tend to be attracted to each other for short periods of time

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Chivalrous Curie

Dr Jacinth Anesu Kuri is a certified Animal Production Scientist from Harare Zimbabwe. He is the CEO of a prominent NGO in Zimbabwe called Agric Tech Opportunities. He is the founder of AgricTech Charities Foundation. Trained by Campuslifestyle to be an IT expect and Web developer And Chief Blogger.

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