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1.What is an ostrich?
An ostrich is a "ratite" - a large flightless bird. The ratite group also includes emu and kiwi. The mature ostrich is six to nine feet tall, weighing between 90 and 160 kilogram. The curious birds are born with black and white striped feathers but are tan, brown, and black as adults.
2.How long does an Ostrich live?
An Ostrich will live to 50 - 75 years. An ostrich hen lays eggs for 42 years.
3.Is ostrich aggressive and dangerous?
Ostrich is not at all dangerous or aggressive. It develops friendship with owners in a few days. However, at times, it can be dangerous for strangers. That’s why, it is hard to steal. During the breeding season, close contact with ostrich must be avoided
Ostrich Farming in Pakistan
1.Do people really raise Ostriches like other food animals?
Ostrich is reared, raised and farmed like all other domestic animals because
Ostrich meat is heart healthy
Ostriches are very feed efficient and take minimal land
Ostrich farming is a viable alternative for agricultural industry, with fine quality leather, feathers and gourmet meat as the principal products.
2.What other countries are practicing Ostrich farming?
Ostrich farming is now being done in countries all over the world including (but not limited to) China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Israel, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, and others
3.Is Environment of Pakistan suitable for Ostrich Farming?
Primarily, Ostrich is a desert bird and that’s why, warm and extreme environment is highly recommended for Ostrich Farming. Fortunately, Pakistan Environment is very hot in summers and cool in winters. Due to this weather pattern, Pakistan is an ideal country for Ostrich farming.
4.What are Requirements for starting an Ostrich Farm?
Ostrich Farm needs following
1.A rough but cemented floor of 250 sq. ft. is sufficient for 50 Ostrich Chicks age between 2 to 4 months. Afterwards, these 50 birds are transferred to muddy land of 1500 sq. ft. where it can pass it entire life
2. Supply of drinkable water
3. Labor: one person is capable of managing a 50 bird’s farm.
5. What and how much an ostrich eats?
An ostrich lives on any cattle fodder. But during early six months of life it needs special feeds for better growth. This feed can be prepared in Pakistan. Strangely enough its feed intake is the lowest in the world as compared to its weight. It gains more weight with lesser amount of fodder. With only 3 Kg food, it gains 1 Kg weight, unlike cow which gains 1 Kg after intake of 20 Kg food. An ostrich, age between 2-4 months, eats half Kg special feed per day. A grown up Ostrich, with 9 feet height and 100 Kg weight, only eats 2-3 Kg Alfalfa(losan) per day. Ostrich needs water double than its food intake.
6.What are major Risks while operating an Ostrich Farm?
After two months, there is almost no risk of natural mortality in Ostrich. Ostrich is almost immune to diseases and epidemics including bid flu 2 months after its birth. However, eating any harmful ingredient like glass, or nail etc. can cause Ostrich mortality. However, at the age of four months, Ostrich is sensible enough to decide what is suitable to eat and does not take any dangerous item releasing farmer from mortality risk.
7.What are the diseases of an ostrich?
Ostrich is made to live in the tough environment so a mature ostrich has the best resistance to all diseases. But up to six months of age it may capture stomach and physical diseases that can be prevented by good nutrition and veterinary care.
8.From Where Ostrich Farmers can receive technical Assistance?
Pakistan Livestock Department is responsible to provide every technical assistance and consultancy to farmers on Farm construction, Ostrich food and medication and precautions. they also trains farmer and its staff to ensure success of Ostrich farm.
9.Are there some Ostrich farms currently operating in Pakistan?
Numerous Ostrich farms with 25-200 Birds have started their operations in Pakistan under guidance of Pakistan Livestock Department. Main farms are in Karachi, Suhawa, Attock, Chakwal, Lahore, and Bahawalpur. New farms are opening in Thatha, Hyderabad, Ranipur, Lasbella, Hub and Gharo.
1. When do ostriches start reproduction?
Ostriches begin laying eggs as early as 20-32 months of age. Ostriches lay large white eggs between March and September. Ostriches can be productive for more than 30 years and can lay 70-100 eggs in a season.
2.What is Trio? Why Ostrich are kept in Trios?
In mating season, Breeding Ostrich are kept in groups of one male and two females called trio. These Trios are kept separately to avoid mating of one trio bird with bird of another Trio. Trio ensures 95% fertility in Ostrich eggs.
3.How many fertile eggs are laid by one trio per year?
One trio lays about 140-200 eggs per year out of them, 95% are fertile.
For how many years, an Ostrich trio can lay eggs?
An Ostrich lays eggs for about 42 years continuously.
4.Does Ostrich sit on its eggs?
Yes, both male and female ostriches sit on eggs, however, Hatch rate from eggs incubated by Ostriches is only 60%. On the other hand, Eggs kept in incubator give 95% Hatch rate.
5.Is it recommended to use an Incubator for Hatching?
Yes, Incubator Hatch rate is 95% as compare to 60% Hatch rate of eggs incubated by Ostriches.
Profitability of Ostrich Farms
1.What are per year revenues earned from an Ostrich farm?
An Ostrich farm of 50 Birds can earn minimum 10 thousand Dollar per year by selling chicks for only $150/Chick of 1 feet, or it can earn minimum 30 thousand Dollar by selling Ostrich Meat for only $3/Kg..
2.In how many years, a farm covers investment and start earning profits?
An ostrich farmer invests for 2 years in a farm. However, Earning of third year not only covers entire cost of three years, but also provide profits almost double than accumulative investment of three Years.
3.What is return on Investment for Ostrich Farmers after covering investment?
ROI for an Ostrich Breeder farm ranges between 200% and 400% depending upon No. of Birds in a particular farm. ROI increases with No. of breeding trios at a farm.
With Ostrich rearing, farmers can double their investment in one year with proper management of farm.
4.Who will buy Live Ostrich, Ostrich Meat, Leather and other products?
There is a well established Export Market for Ostrich Meat and leather in Iran, Saudi Arab and UAE. There are a significant number of leather industries and households in Pakistan interested in Ostrich Meat and leather. Farmers can opt to sell their Ostriches, meat, and leather themselves at any rate.
Benefits of Ostrich
1.Why the ostrich is called the "most usable bird"?
Ostriches are most widely known for their iron-packed red meat, but their fine leather, (hide), unusual feathers, toenails and exquisite large white eggs are also marketable. Farming of no other animal can offer such great range of products and high growth rate with negligible investment.
2.What are main products from an Ostrich?
Ostrich farming would produce following products
Meat: Ostrich meat is very delicious, free of cholesterol and fats. Its taste resembles with Deer meat. About 70 Kg meats can be obtained from an Ostrich age between 8-12 months.
Leather: Ostrich leather is finest leather of the world. It is used in manufacturing of all leather items including boots, brief cases, purses, book covers, etc. It is four times stronger than Cow leather.
Feather: Ostrich feathers are used in cleaning electronics items, sensitive instruments, and even their capability of attracting even smallest dust particle. They are also used in manufacturing ladies hats and dresses.
Oil: Ostrich Oil is used in pharmaceutical Industry
Eggs: Ostrich Egg weighs between 1-3 Kg and it is equivalent to 24 Chicken eggs. Ostrich eggs are tastier than chicken eggs and free of smell. One Ostrich Egg can prepare 24 omelets. Shells of eggs are too hard to break and they are sold in market as showpieces.
What are the approximate prices of ostrich products?
In international market, Ostrich meat is sold for $8 to $12. One egg costs between 10- 20 $ . While Ostrich skin is sold to leather industries at price between $100 to $160
3. How do you compare Ostrich with other Cattle animals currently farmed in Pakistan?
No other animal multiplies itself as fast as Ostrich. Cow procreates only one calf per year while Ostrich produces at least 50 chicks every year. Unlike Chicken meat, Ostrich meat is free of any unnatural harmful treatment. Ostrich is immune to diseases and epidemics. Ostrich meat is similar to mutton or Deer Meat. Its leather is four time stronger that Cow leather. A 50 Birds Ostrich Breeder farm produces minimum 1, 50,000 Kg meat every year, while a 50 breeder chicken farm can produce maximum 30,000 Kg meat and a 50 Breeding Cow farm can produce maximum 10,000 meat per year. Also, ostrich eats lesser that any other animal including goats, sheep and cows.
4.Why Ostrich Meat is preferable to other available meat in Pakistani markets?
Ostrich Meat is very tasty and it is free of any side effect or harmful medications and unnatural hormones. It is almost free of cholesterol and fats.
5.What does ostrich meat taste like?
With more protein and less calories and sodium than most other red meat, ostrich meat is similar in taste and texture to deer, mutton and lean beef.
6.What is the best way to cook ostrich meat?
Since ostrich meat is low fat and cholesterol and loses moisture quickly, it is best when cooked to rare or medium rare doneness (145 to 160 F internal temperatures as measured by a meat thermometer). For those who prefer meat that is well done, a moist heat cooking method is recommended. However, Ostrich meat, when cooked with normal methods used in Pakistan, is equally delicious and healthy.
7.What cuts of ostrich meat are the tenderest?
The tenderest cuts are the select cuts that include the fan, top loin, and inside strip. Select cuts of ostrich meat adapt well to nearly any recipe. Because of its mild flavor, ostrich meat accepts most seasonings. It responds especially well to sweet marinades made with honey, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice and garlic. Grilling on a barbecue after marinating is the best way to bring out the succulent taste of ostrich meat.
8.Is there any use of its bones?
Ostrich has large manageable flexible bones that allows for any artwork manipulation. The handicrafts that are made of camel bones can also be made of ostrich bones with much more ease and beauty.
9.How long does it take to boil Ostrich eggs?
To soft boil a fresh egg would take one hour. To hard boil would take 1 1/2 hours.
10. Where does ostrich oil come from?
Ostrich oil comes from a thick pad of fat on the back of the bird that was initially provided by nature to protect the animal from the extreme temperatures of its African homeland.
11.What are some uses for the oil?
Ostrich oil has been shown to display anti-inflammatory properties and helps combat the effects of the aging process. Ostrich oil has also been proven to thicken the skin of the elderly by as much as 14 percent. Medical specialists are discovering the benefits of ostrich oil and are adapting it into their treatment techniques for relieving the symptoms of joints aching, preventing scars, and treating extra dry skin conditions. In addition to reducing swelling and stiffness in joints, it reduces bruising and muscle pain.
Marketing and Sales of Ostrich and its products
1.Who will buy Live Ostrich and Ostrich Chicks from farmers?
There are Three Major markets for Ostrich and its products
Fancy Bird Market: There is an attractive market for fancy ostrich Birds. Many people like to have a pair of Ostrich at their farmhouse or at home. Due to friendly nature and beautiful looks, Ostrich is very popular as a pet bird in Pakistan.
Pakistani Market: Farmers can opt to independently sell Ostrich and its products in market. Ostrich meat was highly appreciated by Pakistani Consumers in all surveys carried out by Livestock Department. Many restaurants, modern retail and hyper markets are willing to pay premium prices for regular supply of Ostrich meat. Numerous leather and pharmaceutical industries in Pakistan are interested in buying Ostrich Oil, leather and feathers. Overall, any farmer can easily sell Ostrich related products in open market at their own.
Export Market: There is a great demand of ostrich meat and leather in Iran, UAE, Central Asia, Far East and Korea. To meet this demand, these countries are looking for exporters from neighborhood countries that could provide a sustainable supply.
Live Ostrich Market: In Pakistan, Many farmers have started buying Ostriches from other farmers. Many new farmers will buy chicks and eggs from senior players of industry.
2.Will Ostrich meat acceptable for consumers in Pakistan?
Ostrich Meat is highly delicious and healthy. Most importantly, It can be sold at a price of $3/Kg with great profit. With such premium quality taste and low price, there is no reason that Ostrich meat could not get popularity among masses. People at Pakistan cooked Ostrich meat with normal cooking methods and all of them appreciated the taste and most of them ordered it at a high Price. Many professionals including Top chefs of Pakistan tested Ostrich meat and appreciated its taste.
3. Is there any market for ostrich leather?
Ostrich Leather is third strongest and most precious leather of the world after leather of Crocodile and snake. It is widely used in entire world to manufacture best quality leather products including shoes, brief cases, book covers, valets, belts, and purses. In international market, Price of one unprocessed Ostrich skin is as high as $160. In Pakistani market, numerous leather factories are interested in buying Ostrich leather on regular bases. In Karachi, Ostrich Leather products are available on premium prices at various spots including Forum, Chen One, Hush puppies, and Park Tower.
4.What is usage of Ostrich feathers?
Ostrich feathers are used in boutique industry and they are used in manufacturing beautiful dresses and hats for super models and well to do ladies. Ostrich feathers have capability to attract even smallest particles of dust . Ostrich feathers are used in production of dusters which are used in electronics industry for cleaning electric equipments and sensitive instruments.