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Ostrich (Struthio Camelus)
Characteristics and behaviour by Baronigg Ostrichfarm - Marketing - Consulting Tourism

Ostrich Farming Course May 2007 - more Info..

Physical Characteristics

Mass: 100 to 180 kg.

Unmistakeable. Huge (stands 2-2,5 m tall), terrestrial bird. Males are black and white, females gray brown. Ostriches are the largest living birds. Ostriches do well in captivity and may live up to 70 years both in and out of the wild. Their powerful legs are their main defense against natural enemies. They can achieve speeds of up to 65 km per hour, and if cornered they can deliver a powerful blow with their legs.

Food Habits

Ostriches are herbivorous living mostly on plant matter, but they occasionally eat animal remains left by carnivorous predators. They are very selective feeders, taking the seed heads of grasses and certain flowers and seeds. They sometimes eat locusts. An ostrich in captivity requires 3.5 kg of food per day. They can survive without water for long periods of time.

Ostriches can be feed with a wide range of prime material, like luzernes (fresh, hay or pallets), corn, wheat, soja, vegetables, grass, beans, sub products of the production of beer, sunflowers, olive oil, sugar, rice...

In many countries also pre-manufactured pallets are available.

ostriches and ostrich at ostrich farm in Portugal

Ostrich Consulting

Alqueva - 7220 Portel


Tel: +351 96 01 222 66
fax: +35 266 630 002

Exact pattern varies geographically. Ostriches form bisexual groups with a complex structure. Territorial males compete for flocks of 3 to 5 hens. Elaborate displays, including hisses and other noises, are often used by males to intimidate each other. Once divided into mating groups, ostriches in some areas use communal nests to hold anywhere from 15 to 30 eggs. The nest is a hole scraped in bare ground. The average egg is 6 inches in length, 5 inches in width, weights about 1,5 kg, and is shiny and whitish in color. Eggs take approximately 40 days to hatch. Caring for their eggs is divided up between males and females. Males watch over them during the night, and the various females of the mating group take turns during the day.

On farms the normal breeding units are 1 male with 2 females (trio), 1 male with 1 female (pair) or several males and females. The expierence on farms shows, that the productivity of the females is higher in the trio or pair breeding system.
The average production is per female 15 - 60 eggs, sometimes up to 100. On farms normally artificial incubators are used, where the eggs stay during 39 days and the chicks come out at the 42nd day in a proper machine, the hatcher.



Ostriches live in flocks of 5 to 50, and they are normally found in the company of grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Flocks occupy territories of 2-15 sq km during the breeding season, which lasts around 5 months. Smaller, looser groups of 2-5 members are formed outside of the breeding season. Another characteristic of ostriches is that they are very fond of water. They frequently take baths when given the opportunity.

Ostriches can easly adapted to farms and different climate conditions. The minimum size for a paddock is 300 sq.meteres per adult bird. Depending on the animal, sometimes the male can be aggressive during the breeding season.



Ostriches are currently restricted to drier and sandy regions of central and southern Africa.

Ostriches are currently kept on farms in all areas of the world. As well as in Northern Europe, Germany, Austria, Swiss, Canada, USA, Mexico, Poland, Ukraine, Russia to China, Australia, North Africa, Turkey and Portugal, South America, Asia, and of course in southern africa and a lot of other countries.

Encyclopedia Americana. volume 21. Grolier Inc., 1994 (pages 117-118).
Britannica. volume 8. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 1994 (pages 1037-8).
Brown, L. H., E. K. Urban, K. Newman. 1982. The Birds of Africa. Academic Press, London.

Ostrich Farming Course May 2007 - more Info..

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