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November/December 1990

Based on Poultry Fact Sheets 7 and 12 by Francine A. Bradley, Univ. of California Area Poultry

Farm Advisor for Northern California.

Ostriches have been commercially raised primarily for their plumes and hides. The hides are used to make ostrichskin cowboy boots, purses and accessories. Their eggs are prized by individuals who decorate eggs. There are also reports of ostrich meat being served in some restaurants in large, metropolitan cities. However, with the very high prices being paid for ostriches it is unlikely that many will be slaughtered for meat.

The traditional and largest supplier of ostrich hides to the United States has been South Africa. In recent years Federal trade sanctions against South Africa have promoted the beginnings of a domestic ostrich industry. There is a great deal of interest currently in the development of this US industry.

According to the American Ostrich Association, late 1988 Texas auction prices for ostriches ranged from about $6,000 for a pair of 4-6 month old chicks to over $33,000 for an adult pair. (An article in the Sept. 15, 1990 California Farmer quoted a going price of $40,000 to $50,000 for a breeding pair.)

Questions to ask yourself if you are considering raising ostriches:

Do you have the capital to purchase breeding stock? Do you have sufficient information on the management of the birds? Do you have someone who will process the birds and hides for you? And most importantly, do you have a buyer? A final caution, some compare today's ostrich craze to the Shetland pony frenzy of the 1950's.

For further information...


Poultry Fact Sheets No. 7 and 12 by Francine

Avian Sciences Dept. 
Univ. of Calif. 
Davis, CA 95616
Ostrich Management Guide 
G. Q. F. Mfg. Co., 
P.O. Box 1552 - Dept. Ost. 
Savannah, Georgia 31498 
(912) 236-0651
Ostrich Production by Dr. Fred Thornberry 
Poultry Science Dept. 
Texas A&M Univ. 
College Station, TX 77843
Are Big Birds Good Business? A Summary of Information on the Ostrich Businesss and Regulations for Exotic Farm Animals by Lee Fitzhugh 
Ranch Resource Management Series 
Wildlife and Fisheries Biology Dept. 
Univ. of Calif. 
Davis, CA 95616
Quick Bibliography on Raising Quail, Partridge, Pheasant, Bobwhites, and Ostriches (Series No. NAL-BIBL QB 89-95) 
USDA National Agricultural Library 
Public Services Division, Room 11 
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
Exotic Livestock 
A USDA Office of Small-Scale Ag. Publication available from the: 
Small Farm Center 
Univ. of Calif. 
Davis, CA 95616
The Exotic News 
P.O. Box 901
Lampasas, TX 76550 
A monthly paper covering several types of exotic livestock and poultry.


American Ostrich Association 
4710 Bellaire, Suite 110 
Bellaire, TX 77401 
(713) 666-7171

National Ostrich Breeders Assoc. 
Rt. 1 Box 71A 
Lawton, OK 73501 
(405) 353-4025

American Emu Association 
P.O. Box 2022 
Whitney, TX 76692 
(817) 694-7944

Western Region Ostrich Assoc. 
707 NE , Suite 102 
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 288-0714