The flightless ostrich is the world’s biggest bird and this week, we share the ultimate guide to ostrich farming in Mzansi. These versatile birds flourish under extraordinary conditions and today, ostrich farms are viewed as among the most productive farming ventures.
Ostrich farmer Horatious Tom from Oudtshoorn in the Southern Cape, who has been farming with these birds for 18 years, gives insight into the nitty gritty of ostrich farming.
Tom, from Sakhisizwe Ostrich Farming and a member of Cape Karoo International, says there are a few important factors to consider when starting out with ostrich farming.
Tom says, “To breed with ostriches, you need a vast majority of space. Your big fields or land must be well-fenced. Mommies and daddies (parent ostriches) need a lot of space to roam around freely. And the ostriches need to be fed.”
In the episode, he explains when the breeding season starts and ends. Tom says once the eggs are laid in the field, they are picked up by a farmer and put into an incubator. Usually, from January to March, the ostrich egg will start hatching. After the breeding season, matured ostriches are then separated.
The episode also covers the diet of ostriches. According to Tom, ostriches that are in the wild, eat plants, because they are essentially herbivores. However, in a commercial operation, ostriches have an intake of lucerne, bran, mealies, soya, and canola oil among others.
In this episode, Tom also discusses:
- Input costs;
- Climate requirements; and
- Advice to farmers.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
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