What Does Ostrich Farming Entail?

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What is meant by ostrich farming? Is it a specific farming enterprise or varied? To answer these questions, we need to look at all the varied components of ostrich farming. Ostrich products cover a wide range of specific industries including the following:

  • Ostrich eggs. Eggs are primarily used for breeding purposes. These can be sold to an ostrich egg incubation enterprise, or they can be incubated on your own ostrich farming enterprise. Infertile eggs are also used in art, like carving and painting, and sold to the tourist industry. Hatched shells are highly desired for use in fertilizers.
  • Ostrich meat. Ostrich meat is sold in stores specializing in delicacies, as biltong, or highly prized cuts. The ostrich meat is marketed as a good substitute for red meat, as a healthy alternative to fatty meats, and as an alternative to add variety to the diet of groups prohibited to eat pork.
  • Ostrich skins. Ostrich leather is highly sought after as it is a soft yet strong leather, used in the fashion industry. Purses and shoes, and clothing items are made from this beautiful and unique leather.
  • Ostrich feathers. Ostrich feathers are still sought after for the fashion industry, albeit not in such a great demand as in the early 1900’s. The ostrich feathers are also used in art and for making feather dusters.
  • Chicks or breeder pairs. Of course, the birds themselves are the greatest product obtained from ostrich farming. The young chicks can be sold to prospective farmers, or to existing farms to enhance their genetic variability. Young birds can be sold for the same reason, and fully grown ostriches can be sold as breeding stock for the same reasons.
  • Slaughter and processing. Another aspect of ostrich farming is the actual slaughter of the birds, and the initial processing of each by-product. Feathers need to be cleaned. The ostrich skin needs to be processed and tanned. The meat needs to be processed. The carcass needs to be processed, as the feed companies are very willing to buy the ostrich carcasses for inclusion in many feeds as bone meal.

Whichever area you would like to be involved in, a key component to ostrich farming is market testing, supply chain testing and marketing. It is important for the emerging ostrich farmer to define his market.

For example: The emerging ostrich farming enterprise might decide to incubate eggs as their core business. They then need to decide where the ostrich eggs will be obtained. Will they purchase the ostrich eggs, incubate them and sell off the chicks, or will they incubate another farmers ostrich eggs for a negotiated fee? Whichever way they decide, they need to feel out the market. Is there a steady demand for ostrich chicks? Is there a demand for contracted incubators?

Some new ostrich farming enterprises might decide to cover all farming aspects, ranging from young chicks to slaughtering the ostriches. Some farmers might decide to hone in on a specialized market, producing only a limited number of items for marketing.

Whichever you decide on, you must be aware of the marketing and supply chain factors that will be influencing your ostrich farming enterprise. Research to make sure that all the supply chains will be in place in all areas that your business will be depending on for an efficient production.

Following the rules of supply chain and the importance of marketing, your ostrich farming enterprise can grow to be productive and efficient to capacity, too!


write by Wendy Carter

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