Ostrich - a diversification option for east coast farms?
Ostrich are currently being promoted as an alternative to sheep, cattle and deer. Although current bird prices are not sustainable, New Zealand and overseas experience to date suggest ostrich can be farmed successfully and profitability long term. Climate and terrain of the east coast of New Zealand suit ostrich physical requirements. It has been suggested that production systems will develop in which grazed herbage will provide 60% or more of the nutritional requirements. The ability to graze low-cost herbage combined with a reproduction rate of about 25 progeny per hen per year indicate that ostrich production systems may be three times more efficient than beef or deer at turning feed into lean meat. The low fat and low cholesterol meat is likely to be the primary product and is already being sold in international markets. There is also a market for the leather, feathers and oil by-products.... [Show full abstract]