Ostrich farming began in South Africa. Early demand for the bird was for its plumage. Tthat early demand fell at the onset of World War I and only began to rise again after World War II. Although there were a few ostrich farms in the U.S. around 1920, the industry as it exists today, started in the mid 1980's. The interest and number of farms has grown at a steady pace since that time. The demand for the bird at this time is for the hide and meat. Currently, all ostrich farmers across the U.S., and particularly in N.C., are making an effort to increase the number of birds.
The meat and hide market stands ready to buy slaughter age birds (12-14 months). At this time, the existing farms cannot produce enough birds to supply the need. Therefore, all potential farmers are urged to consider the following information as well as visit farms in operation.
Strategies for entering the ratite industry vary. Sound business practices are applicable here as in other entrepeneurial venture. The variables include: type of ratite, age of stock, quantity of stock, land and facilities available, funds available, time available, return required over what period, etc. Risk to principal can be minimized since the stock can be insured for full purchase price and increased as the value of the stock increases with age. At this time the purchase of eggs or chicks under 3 months old are not being insured and should be considered highly speculative.
American Ostrich Association