A lot of farming enthusiasts don’t really know much about ostrich farming yet it is a very lucrative farming venture. For instance, the quantity of meat produced by the ostrich is much more than that produced by cattles.
Ideally, a cow will only produce one calf each year and it takes up to 2 years for the calf to mature into a cow and be sold for meat. The weight at this point is about 250kg. On the other hand, an ostrich is capable of producing up to 40 eggs annually and each bird take a little over a year (14 months) to become market ready. Interestingly, the meat obtained weighs about 1800kg. Additionally, this meat is lower in calories and cholesterol than the cow meat.
When you consider these differences, it’s quite obvious that ostrich farming can be more profitable than cattle rearing. Here’s another example, if you have about 3000 birds in your ostrich farm, you should expect to generate an income well above N300 million each year. Generally, when you compare this farming to other types of animal farming like poultry farming or cattle rearing, you’ll be wondering why many farmers are yet to start their ostrich farm.
Well, the answer is simple, there’s very little information available to potential ostrich farmers. And the few that start usually have a lot of information gap leading to a failed business venture. This is why we’ve written this article to equip potential ostrich farmers with the right information needed to succeed in their business.
Before we go further, there are other benefits of ostrich farming and they’ve been highlighted below.
An average ostrich produces about 50 square meters of leather each year. On the hand, a cow will only produce about 3 square meters of leather per year. It is interesting to note that the leather from ostrich is highly valued and it is much loved by fashion enthusiasts. In fact, the likes of Hermes, Gucci, Prada and Luis Vuitton use this leather type in making their products.
The ostrich feathers are also highly valued. It can be used to make dusters for cleaning machineries and equipments. It is also useful in decoration ahd has many other applications in the fashion industry.
The largest egg in the world comes from the ostrich. This football sized egg is a healthier alternative to chicken egg. The ostrich egg is lower in saturated fats and cholesterol and these eggs are loaded with beneficial nutrients like vitamin A, E, magnesium and iron.
Currently, ostrich farming is concentrated in the middle and northern regions of Nigeria. A couple of popular ostrich farms include the Sambawa farm in the North and the Obasanjo farm in the South West.
Before you start your ostrich farm, it is expected you should have allocated an area of land for this purpose. You need a lot of space to rear ostriches because these birds like to run and you’ll be limiting them if they don’t have space to run around. You can start with half an acre of land for a family of 4 or 5 birds. Grasslands and semi-arid climes are ideal for rearing ostriches.
Once you’ve selected and prepared your land area, the next step is to obtain your birds for breeding. Usually, the male to female ratio is about 1 to 4. However, the breeders are expensive. One breeder can cost up to N300 000.
Generally, ostriches require a lot of water, so it’s important you have a close supply of water to the farm. In terms of feeding, ostriches feed on almost anything. They are omnivores and they feed on insects, rodents and even grass. However, you still need to provide them with good quality food regularly. You can purchase poultry feeds for them. This will ensure they grow to the right size and produce enough meat that will help you generate a high return on your investment.
Overall, ostrich rearing is a very delicate process. In fact, it’s not advised that you venture in to ostrich farming if you’ve never had any experience with other types of bird farming like poultry birds. It is generally easier to progress from poultry farming to ostrich farming.
Also, before you commence this business, it’s important you speak to experts in this field such as experienced ostrich farmers or consultants. This will make it easier for you to start the process and provide you with the necessary knowledge needed for this venture.