What should a person do if he has the opportunity to engage in agriculture or farming, but his soul does not lie in growing potatoes and raising chickens? I would like to try something interesting and exotic, but scary, what if it doesn’t work out? There is one idea that can bring pleasure and quick profit. This is ostrich breeding. Lovely “babies” can become a real gold mine for those who correctly draw up a work plan and assess their capabilities.
Raising ostriches is an interesting and unusual activity. This huge bird is the source of many valuable foods. Even the fact that when raising other poultry is not considered as a commodity at all is in demand. The budding farmer will have to network and network across a variety of industries. And he will have something to interest buyers, because very soon the sales plans will include:
- Diet and healthy ostrich meat. Low-fat and rich in protein composition, a product that restaurants and shops are happy to buy. Each bird – at least 25 kg of meat when cutting. And the price of this product is much higher than that of beef or chicken.
- Ostrich fat. Pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies buy this product with pleasure for the production of ointments, creams or other products. You can get 10-15 kg of fat from each bird.
- Eggs that are striking in size and delicate taste. They have a surprisingly long shelf life (up to a year), and are used not only for food, but also as a material for artistic painting, cutting and engraving.
- A feather that can be used as pillow material or sold to fashion houses and dance groups to decorate hats and costumes. It will also be possible to earn income by selling male feathers as souvenirs.
- The skin from which bags, wallets and other haberdashery goods are made. It will be in demand because it has high elasticity, moisture resistance and a long service life.
- Breeding bird. This is also a kind of commodity, as home breeding of ostriches is gaining momentum.
- Claws and droppings are also a commodity! Claws can be sold to button and fastener makers, and droppings can be sold as a valuable soil fertilizer.
As you can see, breeding ostriches can be very profitable. If profitability is the first item in your plans, then this business is for you.
How to build a business?
Any business starts with a well-written work plan. In economics, this is called writing a business plan. It should be clear and feasible, you should not set sky-high goals, first you need to prepare the basis for them. Breeding ostriches as a business is subject to careful preparation. A typical business plan consists of the following points:
- plans for the volume of production and sale of the final product;
- plans for the cost of purchasing feed, electricity and heat;
- marketing (price justification, promotions, customer acquisition);
- organizational issues (information about buyers and suppliers, personnel selection, search for partners);
- objective risk assessment;
- financial plans (search for sources of financing, profitability, planning of repayment of loan money);
- the final part (determining the ultimate goals of drawing up a business plan, summary information).
Since at the initial stage of building a business, large financial costs are required, the farmer must understand that his risks are very high. There is always a chance of incidents that he cannot influence. It can be natural disasters, unexpected epidemics, death of birds. In this case, the farmer will go bankrupt even with the most scrupulous implementation of business plans. In all other cases, raising ostriches at home can become a stable source of income.
To set up an ostrich farm, you need to rent a large plot of land. There are some nuances here. Not every area is suitable for keeping ostriches. It must be protected from the wind and well lit. You cannot choose cheaper wetland or damp lands.
The farmer must complete all the necessary documents and permits. Then hire staff, not forgetting that they are not only handymen, but also a livestock technician, watchman, veterinarian. This is followed by the purchase of feed and equipment. It is advisable not to skimp on the quality and equipment of incubators. Immediately select a model with temperature measurement, moisture detection and automatic egg turning.
When the site and equipment are ready, birds can be purchased. Usually they buy several heads of monthly chickens, as well as females and males at reproductive age.
The first step is to decide how to raise ostriches. You must choose one of three ways:
- Intensive keeping of ostriches. The birds will be kept in a small area in close contact with the staff.
Extensive housing, that is, a large territory is equipped for the birds, where they are left to themselves most of the time.
- Semi-intensive keeping of ostriches, in which close contacts with birds are established in large areas.
- You should also know that it is possible to breed livestock according to a single-level scheme, purchasing and raising chicks of the same age before slaughter. And according to a multilevel scheme, when individuals of different ages are raised in the same territory.
Most often, farmers prefer the breeding of African ostriches. These are large, unpretentious birds, weighing more than 160 kg. They are not afraid of high and low temperatures, and are unpretentious in food.
Australian emus can be bred. In this case, you will have to build separate enclosures for couples. Poultry is mainly slaughtered for meat. The weight of an adult is up to 75 kg.
The third ostrich species is the South American rhea. These ostriches are smaller in size than African ones. They live in small herds and love water very much.
Organization of feeding
Correct selection of drinking bowls and feeders plays an important role in the organization of feeding. Ostriches eat greedily and a lot. Therefore, to avoid injury, several large feeders must be installed. The sizes are calculated as follows: each chick has at least 50 cm of space, and for an adult ostrich – 1.5 m. The design of the feeder should be stable and comfortable. Placement height – to match the height of the birds.
The best way to feed ostrich hay and branches is from a trellised nursery. Their height is approximately 70 cm from the ground (floor) level. It is good to use strong plastic containers or ordinary troughs as a drinker.
Selection of feed
To grow a strong and well-nourished bird, you need to properly organize the selection of feed. Food should be varied and nutritious.
The ostrich diet consists of:
- mineral additives, which are used as gravel, phosphates, shell rock, calcium and fluorine;
- roughage, i.e. hay and straw;
- fresh fruits and vegetables, melons, pumpkins, apples, cucumbers, radishes or potatoes;
- green grass, best of all alfalfa, nettle, clover or quinoa;
- fish and bone meal;
- grains and seeds of various crops;
Despite the extensive list of foods, feeding ostriches is quite simple. They are not picky and voracious. The main thing is to observe the necessary proportions of feed for chicks in order to get a healthy adult livestock.
Chickens are prepared special mixtures of crushed clover leaves (alfalfa) and compound feed with 20% protein content.
As a protein supplement, ostriches should be fed with boiled eggs and cottage cheese. From four weeks to three months, chicks should have no more than 12% fiber in the feed. Separately, they are offered small stones for grinding coarse forage grasses and greens.
The main diseases of ostriches are associated with indigestion and respiratory infections. To prevent mass diseases on an ostrich farm, you must strictly adhere to the following standards:
- cleaning of premises and territories should be daily;
- special quarantine pens are being set up on the farm for sick or only acquired birds;
- rooms and equipment, including feeders and water tanks, should be regularly disinfected;
- workers, especially those involved in incubators and young animals, must observe a disinfection regime and use gloves; be sure to conduct regular analyzes of droppings for infectious diseases and parasites;
- measures for the destruction of rodents must be carried out on time, and in compliance with safety measures;
- be sure to follow the bird vaccination schedule;
- the water in the drinkers should be in sufficient quantity and be replaced with fresh water daily;
- the farm is necessarily equipped with disintegrating barriers.
Thus, diseases of ostriches are limited to isolated cases. And the livestock on the farm is kept healthy and reproductive.
Armed with the necessary knowledge and documentation, you can start setting up an ostrich farm.
The days when your business will cease to be considered exotic and ostrich meat dishes will take their rightful place on our tables are not far away.