British Domesticated Ostrich Association

History of the Industry

The British Ostrich industry started in the late 1980's. The British Domesticated Ostrich Association was founded in 1992 to support the growing new industry. A number of events, including a number of investment scams of the 1990's, have resulted in slow development of the industry. The British Domesticated Ostrich Association (BDOA) continues to support the industry through this embryonic stage.

ostrich pensOstriches have been farmed for over 150 years, but only in small numbers initially to supply feathers, mainly in South Africa but also some farming was carried out in the United States and Australia. The feather market collapsed with the outbreak of World War 1. Following World War 2 South Africa resurrected the industry, farming the birds again for Feathers and also for Skins. The first abattoir and tannery was built in the 1960s. Prior to that, Ostrich skins from South Africa were brought to England for tanning. During this period no meaningful study was carried out on improving production methods to achieve improved egg production and most import, conversion of eggs to live chicks.

During the 1980's birds and eggs began to be exported from Southern Africa to Northern Europe, including England, the United States and Canada and Australia. A breeder pair was sold for 10s of thousands of pounds until the mid 1990s, when the breeder market collapsed. Ostrich can now be found in many countries of the world. This breeder market has resulted in a slow conversion to commercial production.