What is an Ostrich?
- Largest But flightless bird
- Life span: 30 to 70years
- 70-100 eggs per year
- Reproduction Age: 42years
- Temperature tolerance: -30C to +56C
- Hieght 8-9 ft
- 100 Kg weight in 10months
- Running speed 70
The Ostrich producer ranking?
- South Africa
- China (Still buying breeding stock!)
- USA, Mexico, Japan,
- Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
- Egypt,Brazil, United Arab Emirates,
- Turkey, Pakistan, India
- Iran rears and slaughters
- 150,000 + birds per year
- Direct government support
- State Sponsored Breeding Farms
- Claims to be third largest Ostrich farmer
- Ostrich Boom in last 9 years
- Had ostrich farming in over 30 provinces seven years back
- Massive local consumption potential
- Has now started export of Ostrich Meat and Products
Ostrich can feed the world?
- Best FCR
- 18kg – 24kg (8 weeks)
- 45kg – 80 kg (16 weeks)
- 70kg – 170 kg (26 weeks)
- 100 kg – 400 kg (42 weeks)
- Healthy and organic meat
- min 30 chicks/hen/year
- Can generate PKR 100,000/hen
- Highly Profitable Business
- POC Support
- Low Space/ Food requirement
- Premium for Early movers
- More profitable than cattle, goat and poultry
Why Ostrich Farming
- Natural Environment is Ukambani
- Agricultural Country
- Meat as Prime Food Source
- Cheaper Labour
- Low feed cost
- Little or no handling
- Feed to Weight Ratio
- Product Variety
- Leather Industry
- High Profitability
- Adaptability (Ukambani natural habitat)
(*source: Pakistan Ostrich Farming)
There are 4 clearly identifiable phases that the industry has passed.
Phase 1: Initial Development of Industries with full infrastructure
This phase includes countries that had full infrastructure for production, processing and marketing with commercial scale capacity. Countries included here are South Africa, Israel, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Israels entry into the industry was the first outside South Africa in modern times. During this period Zimbabwe and Namibia were also exporting eggs, chicks and breeder birds to support the development discussed in Phase 2. Eggs, chicks and adult birds were also exported from Tanzania and Kenya.
Figure 2 – Namibian Community Farmers
Phase 2: The first countries importing foundation stock outside Southern Africa and Israel
This phase includes the first countries to import foundation stock from their original countries, which included stock taken from the wild. Countries included in this group are USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, UK and Northern Continental European countries such as The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and France. Other importers of stock during this phase were China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines. These countries imported a diversity of genetics not only from Namibia, Bophuthatswana and Zimbabwe but also from Tanzania and Kenya. South Africa was unable to export fertile eggs and live birds until 1998. However, there were many reports of illegal exports from South Africa, prior to the change in legislation. During this period it was impossible to identify the genetic origin of the birds.
Phase 3: Phase 2 countries selling to more countries new to ostrich
The countries listed in Phase 2 failed to successfully move from importation of foundation stock to commercial production. As a result they sold their stock onto new countries and accompanied by the same errors in production advice. The first recipient countries were Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece in Europe and then onto Brazil and Argentina. Stock from these areas also moved into Eastern Europe and the Middle East. At the same time stock moved to Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile. Nowadays stock is moving into Nigeria and other North African countries, Pakistan and other areas still working to establish commercial poultry production.
Phase 4: Industry in Contraction
Obtaining accurate production data is challenging, but a review of the last meaningful table published illustrates why this is. As at 2012 the industry is in a poor situation, with limited, if any slaughter activity in most areas. Several hundred birds per annum at the most in some locations. What about the Phase 1 countries?
There are still some birds slaughtered in South Africa probably around the 100,000 level per annum – as slaughter numbers have reduced steadily over the past 10 years. There are a number of reasons for this. One is several outbreaks of Avian Influenza that have resulted in the inability to export meat, which is a major source of revenue. The South African producers have failed to modernise their production systems with the result that they have failed to reduce their costs of production. This results in uncompetitive meat production when measured against the costs of mainstream meat products. The ostrich leather market virtually collapsed in recent years as a result of the inconsistencies in quality and supply from all sources.
The political situation in Zimbabwe has prevented Zimbabwes production from developing its potential. Israels production failed when there was an outbreak of avian influenza in their poultry flocks preventing them from exporting their meat. Their industry had no local meat consumption as ostrich is not kosher, but ostrich is acceptable to consumers who require Halaal certification.
Time now to capitalise on lessons learnt
At this point in time (2012) it is necessary to observe the development of the established commercial meat production species: pig, poultry (mainly chicken but with turkey, duck, guinea fowl and other poultry becoming players), along with cattle, sheep and goat as the mainstream current competition to ostrich meat. Not only does ostrich have to compete for shelf space in super markets for mainstream meat types but also other speciality meat types such as venison, emu, wild boar, kangaroo, rabbit and crocodile.
The important factor in favour of ostrich is their ability to produce meat protein at similar feed efficiencies and therefore cost as pig and poultry. South Africa, the dominant producer of ostrich, remains working with outdated systems that continue to fail their producers. These outdated systems were passed onto the new developing countries.
Over the past few decades, pig and poultry production has become extremely efficient in their production methods. For example in broiler production the growing chick spends 25% less time on the farm to reach the same weight than it did 25 years ago. In the same 25 years ostrich has gone through these various phases.
These 25 years have provided the opportunity to gain experience and prove the potential that under the right management systems, ostrich can reach the same slaughter weight in less than ½ the accepted time. It now requires adoption of the knowledge learnt and implemented on a large enough scale to ensure it is commercially viable before it is too late.