British Domesticated Ostrich Association

How to enter the Ostrich Industry

Ostrich production today is going through the transition phase from breeder market to commercial production. During a breeder market there has been limited parallel development of the required infrastructure of productive feed provision, slaughter provision, product and market development. Any new entrant needs to consider at what stage of the production process they wish to participate. There are others who wish to market the products, but this is only possible if there is a product available to market. Current world production of ostrich is very low.

When starting to farm the traditional specie such as beef, poultry, lamb or even milking cows, there is an infrastructure in place. These industries have developed over decades and operate in large volume. Farming any of the traditional specie as a small producer, it is possible to go to a local farmer cooperative or feed company to purchase small volumes of feed that will provide adequate maintenance and reasonable levels of production. There are established markets. Today farmers are more likely to grow on contract than send their progeny to auction market as these markets are rapidly disappearing. None of this infrastructure is yet in place for ostrich.

Ostrich production can be very profitable but to be profitable, in today's markets, there needs to be economies of scale. Economies of scale come about either through a very large unit producing thousands of tonnes of meat each year or a number of small units working in collaboration. The new comer starting should ensure either there is a local support infrastructure to slot into, have sufficient resources to put in place the whole infrastructure or encourage a number of small operations to collaborate to develop a vertically integrated value chain.

John Nix Farm Management