Ostrich Farming


Photos :Courtesy of Maasai Ostrich Farm

Photos :Courtesy of Maasai Ostrich Farm

The Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is the largest bird in the world. The ostrich cannot fly but has strong, long and powerful legs which enable it to run very fast at an approximate speed of 70km/hr.It can maintain this speed for 20-30 minutes. Its foot has only two toes, with the large toe having a sharp claw which is used for defence.The head is small and has a long naked neck which adds to its defence mechanism.

The male ostrich has a black plumage with white plumes on the wings and the tail, while the female has greyish plumage. The Ostrich can withstand extreme weather condition and can survive very well in the ASALs. They are mainly found in the open woodlands or range grasslands. They tend to avoid thick bushes and dense tree covers. The ostrich lays up to 45 eggs and each egg weighs between 1.5 to 2 kg.

Why Ostrich farming?

  • Ostrich oil, produced from ostrich fat, is used to help treat asthma and other chest complaints
  • The demand for ostrich and its meat has increased in the global market.
  •  Its meat is low in cholesterol.
  • Broadening protein sources.
  • Alternative source of income 
  • Ostrich skin is a premium product in leather industry.
  • Source of revenue through tourism.
  • Conservation of genetic resource.

Policy issues

The policy on Ostrich farming in Kenya is at the draft stage. Ostrich farming is under the Kenya Wildlife Service and a permit from them is required. Before issuance of the permit a game ranger has to inspect the farm

Stakeholders

  • Ministry of Livestock Development.
  • Ministry of Tourism.
  • Ministry of Environment.
  • Ministry of Forest Services. 
  • Kenya wildlife services.
  • Maasai Ostrich Farm
  • Other Ostrich Farmers.