Wednesday, February 28Food Security Matters

Ostrich Farming in the Philippines

Ostrich farming is becoming popular in the Philippines and although few are doing this, the demand for Ostrich meat is increasing. The cost of Ostrich meat per kilo is from P450 to P600 and one slaughtered Ostrich can weigh around 100 kilos.

Without the ability to fly, despite being a bird, the ostrich (Struthio camelus) has all the strength concentrated in its legs to give runs (it is a running bird) when it needs it. It is also in the thighs where a good part of the tender meat of the bird is found, a product that has been giving more impetus to breeding in recent times.

Similar in taste and texture to beef, ostrich meat contains low levels of fat and cholesterol, information that is gaining weight when choosing food purchases. At one year old, the bird is ready for slaughter and can produce 30 to 40 kilos of boneless meat. But it is in obtaining other by-products that the creation of the bird has gained greater commercial appeal.Ostrich-farming-philippines

In addition to lean meat, the ostrich also offers other commodities that have commercial appeal: feathers, leather, eggs, eyelashes, fat, and its carcass.

Originally from Africa, the ostrich has three different subspecies. Among the best known are the African black (black collar), the result of the empirical selection made by South Africans over the last 150 years; and the aggressive red neck (red neck) and blue neck (blue neck), which are not suitable for living with people.

Large in size, the adult animal reaches two to 2.5 meters in height, with a weight of 100 to 150 kilos. It can live to be 70 years old, having between 20 and 40 years of productive life.

Why is ostrich farming an attractive business option?

The biggest advantage of starting a business in this segment is that you do not need large maintenance costs and still be able to obtain a good turnover at the end of the month.

Despite being a bird that does not fly, the ostrich offers several “goods” that are highly valued in the market.

The first example of this is its meat, which is very similar to the texture of beef, but with the difference that it has lower levels of fat and cholesterol, which already draws the attention of those who want to eat something healthier.

In addition to meat, leather is often used in the shoe and bag industry, being able to substitute reptile skins, such as crocodile and snake; feathers are used for polishing in the automobile industry, in carnival fantasies, and the manufacture of feather dusters; and even the eggs are used, currently, they are more used in the formation of reproductive seedlings, but the resistant and porous shell can be used to make decorative objects, such as purses and jewelry holders.

The fat can still be used from the animal, for the preparation of creams and ointments; the eyelashes, the manufacture of false eyelashes, and the carcass, for the composition of «compound feed» (a diet prepared for animals).

Another positive aspect of ostrich farming is that this animal has a great capacity for adaptation, enduring high and low temperatures, and not require construction, structures, or labor to handle.

How to set up an ostrich farm

Initial considerations

Before going to step by step, you must have some knowledge about some initial information. For example, to start your business it is recommended that you partner with someone who owns a piece of land or someone who has enough knowledge about the animal.

If you buy a 90-day-old brood the price is around P10,000, but you will have to wait three years for a return. In the case of buying biological matrices, you will have to invest between P35,000 and P45,000 but the return will be immediate.

Another thing that is important to know is that these animals can live up to 70 years, being that from 20 to 40 they will be productive, generating 50 to 60 eggs a year. With a good number of adults, it will have an excellent production.

This information is to give you an idea of ​​what you need to get started now and the possibilities you will have later.

Structure necessary to set up an ostrich farm

The structure for raising ostriches is a rustic shed to protect the animals in case of rain, strong wind, or the sun; it must be at least 20 square meters.

Ideally, mount a cement floor, because, in addition to facilitating the movement of animals, it helps in cleaning. It is also important that you have trampling-resistant grass regularly and with 45 ° corners, surrounded by smooth wire or a 1.5 m high cloth.

Finally, the trough can be made of masonry and the trough of some cut plastic tires or gallons.

Food for ostriches’ growth

Ideally, for a baby ostrich is that the animals are fed decomposed feed for up to three months and then with a pelleted feed – which has 20 to 22% corn protein, soy bran, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins.

They can also be given grass, but only after the first month of life and little by little. Another important thing is to always provide clean, fresh water for the birds.

Care for ostriches

There is great concern with this animal. He does not have teeth and shows little mobility in his tongue, so he does not chew, he takes the food with his beak and makes it advance toward the opening of the esophagus, so he can eat anything he finds, from nails to pieces of wood. That is why you must remove from your reach any material that could be swallowed by birds and cause harm to their health.

Ostrich Reproduction

It is only after two years that the ostrich begins courtship and mating – which can extend up to 30 years. Ideally, for reproduction, make a nest and place a wooden egg to stimulate production.

The normal thing is that each female manages to lay 50 to 60 eggs a year, but some manage to lay up to 100. Remember that the eggs are generated from 48 hours to 48 hours and after eight the female will rest for a few days and then return to playback.

Staff in an ostrich farming business

No more than one employee is needed to manage 10 pairs of ostriches. As the handling is very simple, you can do it yourself or someone from your family.

In the case of the veterinarian, it does not take more than a monthly visit from a veterinarian, since the ostrich is a very resistant bird.

Some questions related to ostrich farming

Is ostrich farming profitable?

Popular for a period in the 1980s and 1990s, ostrich farming experienced a decline but has begun to see a re-emergence. Today, raising ostriches for resources such as meat, hides, feathers, and eggs can be a profitable way to earn a living

Is it legal to own an ostrich in the Philippines?

Many wondered what an ostrich was doing inside a private subdivision if it were even legal, to begin with. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), keeping an ostrich in subdivisions is legal, as long as it is compliant with Republic Act No. 9147 and supported by necessary documents.

Is there an ostrich in the Philippines?

Ostrich farming in the Philippines is a growing business. The ostrich breeding season in the Philippines is from February to October. The Department of Agriculture of the Philippines promoted ostrich farming in response to the world food crisis of 2007–08, as well as an ecotourism and agritourism project.

How long does it take to raise an ostrich?

One of their amazing attributes is the fact that the ostrich will grow to adulthood in 18 months. They weigh about 1kg when born and in the space of 18 months grow to an incredible size of about 140kg. The female ostrich will start laying eggs when she is about two years old

How do you make money from ostriches?

Aside from selling chicks or mature ostriches to breeders, enthusiasts, and other agriculturalists, Farmers may choose to raise these animals to produce commercial goods such as:

  • Feathers
  • Hides
  • Eggs and meat
  • Ostriches produce multiple commodities.
  • Ostriches have a better feed conversion ratio than cattle.

Can I buy an ostrich egg?

An edible ostrich egg would cost approximately the same as a live chick, and most consumers would not be willing to pay that for their breakfast. It is possible to buy empty ostrich eggshells, however. You can find them online and at reputable ostrich farms.

How much space does an ostrich need?

For adult birds, the holding pen should provide at least 6m² per adult ostrich. Interior height should be no less than 0.3m above the heads of the birds. If the birds are to be housed for longer periods, more space must be provided.

How many eggs do ostriches lay a month?

The mating season of ostriches in the Little Karoo is normally between June and January, and this is also the egg-laying period for female ostriches. A good-producing hen will lay 8–10 eggs per month.

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