How many eggs do ostriches lay?

Ostriches are huge and look very much unlike any other bird you usually find in a hutch or a coop, they look like a bird from another world. Yet they are real, they are birds and they lay eggs just like any other bird.

How many eggs do Ostriches lay? Ostriches lay on average 40-60 eggs per year between April and August, but certain ostriches can lay up to 130 eggs per year. Female ostriches start laying eggs between 2-3 years and they reach peak egg production between the age of 7 and 11 years.

How often do they lay eggs? How is it fertilized? What’s its taste like? We will answer all that and much more below. Let’s dive right in!

Under natural conditions a hen lays around 15 eggs per year this can be increased to 40-60 under farming conditions.

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In the first year when they reach sexual maturity they lay only around 10 eggs which will increase gradually until they reach the peak between 7-11 years. After 11 years their egg production starts to slowly decrease until they die.

Under farming conditions these might live up to 75 years.

Female ostriches start breeding between the age of 2 and 3 years. On average male ostriches reach breeding maturity a half year later.

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Ostriches are ground nesters, they lay the eggs every other day or every third day in a so-called dump nest. The nest is basically a hole or depression in the sand. It is a communal nest meaning that more than one female lays her eggs there.

During the breeding season ostriches can get quite aggressive and due to their large size (mature female 300 lbs and male 400 lbs) they can cause quite a big harm. When collecting the eggs make sure that the ostriches are distracted.

Although Ostriches lay fewer eggs than chickens do, they lay much larger ones. An average size ostrich egg is equivalent to 25 chicken eggs. However in extreme cases this number can be as high as 36.

The size of an average ostrich egg is 6 by 5 inch and weighs 2.5-4 lbs. Ostriches are the largest living birds, having huge eggs makes absolute sense. 

Although ostrich eggs compared to other birds’ eggs are huge, compared to the ostriches body size they’re small.

Its shell is much thicker than a chicken egg or any other type of egg. Just imagine how much weight the eggs need to hold when the ostrich sits on the eggs. 

In comparison to chicken eggs it has a lower portion of yolk: in a chicken egg the 33% of the liquid weight is yolk whereas in an ostrich egg it is only 25%.  

Ostrich eggs are cream colored and glossy in their appearance.

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How to hatch Ostrich eggs?

Ostriches hatch their own eggs naturally, which takes 35-42 days but they can be hatched also in an incubator. Under farming conditions this might be a bit shorter than under natural conditions.

The egg must be fertilized. The fertilization process is similar to other poultries.

There is a dominant rooster that has multiple hens and in the breeding season fertilizes the eggs. The rooster starts the breeding with the mating dance and then mounts on the back of the hen. Mating with the same hen can happen multiple times a day.

The hatching under is carried out by both the male and the female ostrich. The female ostrich builds the nest and takes turns with the dominant female ostrich in keeping the eggs at proper temperature.

As already mentioned above their nest is communal meaning not only are the eggs of a different hen but those can be fertilized by a different rooster.  

Under farming conditions ostrich eggs are collected daily and put in the incubator on a weekly basis. Until they are put in the incubator they should be kept at a temperature of 53 F – 64 F degree (12-18 C degree).

For the best hatching results a special incubator is necessary. You need a special ostrich egg incubator which is big enough to accommodate such eggs. The incubator needs to moves the eggs around multiple times during the day.

The ideal humidity for the eggs is 36% and the best temperature is 96-97 F degree (36-37 C).

The eggs will hatch in about 40 days and the ostrich chicks will weigh at around 3.5 lbs. Just imagine that in a year they will weigh 220lbs. 

Can you eat an ostrich egg?

You can eat an ostrich egg and it tastes like any other type of egg. There is no noticeable difference in taste. The only difference is that ostrich eggs are creamier than chicken eggs.  

If you want to cook an omelet of ostrich eggs you need to make sure you have enough people to feed. An ostrich egg is equivalent to 25 chicken eggs. You need enough hungry people to eat all that.

You also need to make sure that you have the proper equipment to open the ostrich egg. 

As ostrich eggs are much thicker than chicken eggs you can’t just crack it open. It is not impossible to crack it but it is impossible to crack it without smashing and splashing it all over. You need to use either a saw or a drill to open the egg.

If you want to soft boil it you need to make sure you start boiling it in time: it takes 50 minutes to soft boil an ostrich egg and it takes aroun1.5 hours to hard boil it.

It is worth saving the ostrich egg shell as it is very valuable. You can use it for ornaments decorating it with paint and even carvings.

What if the egg is fertilized!?

If the egg is fertilized you can still eat it, just like the chicken eggs or any other eggs. For an ostrich embryo to start developing a certain temperature and humidity is necessary for multiple days. In fact, the fertility check of ostrich eggs is done after two weeks spent in the incubator.

Cooking an ostrich egg is pretty impractical. Although homesteaders do sell eggs, mostly keep the ostriches for their meat.


Ostriches offer many benefits besides the eggs and its meat production. As mentioned, the egg shells are also very valuable. There are also other aspects of ostriches that makes ostriches a lucrative choice to pick among homesteaders.


Sam is an outdoor enthusiast, who loves spending time in the garden and learning about animals. His motivating forces are his wife and 5 beautiful children. When he doesn't get it right, he will go and try again!

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