Can you keep ostrich as livestock?

You are considering keeping livestock and you are wondering whether keeping ostriches is viable and a good idea. You are in the right place if this is what you want to find out!

Can you keep ostriches as a livestock? Ostrich is an excellent livestock. They can be a quite a lucrative investment as their meat, skin, feather, egg and oil extracted from their fat are very valuable. Ostrich meat market is not fully developed but the demand for the meat is increasing. 

At first it may seem a very lucrative enterprise to keep ostriches nonetheless there are quite a few things to keep in mind. Let’s find out what are the upsides and downsides of ostrich farming in this article.

Ostrich has a much smaller environmental footprint than beef does. It uses 1/3rd of the water, 1/50th of the land, and emits 1/10th of the greenhouse gases per pound produced.

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Ostriches require only one-quarter of the feed as grass-fed cows to produce the same amount of meat and they reach market-readiness 250 days sooner than cows.  

You can make more than 130 pounds of product from a 250-pound ostrich, while a 1,200-pound cow produces only 490 pounds of product.  

An ostrich yields 11% more of its total weight than a cow, fewer valuable resources go to waste and more of the ostrich can be sold producing greater income. 

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On top of that ostrich meat is very healthy as it is 97% lean meat and low in saturated fat. It contains only a third of fat that beef meat does. It contains more iron and protein than beef meat and it’s also low in cholesterol.

Many say that ostrich meat tastes very much like filet mignon or venison.  

Ostrich oil derived from the bird’s fat is also an excellent moisturizer. You can basically rub ostrich oil onto your skin to moisturize it. You can also make bars of soap prepared with ostrich oil.

In addition ostrich eggs are edible although a bit impractical to eat as they are equivalent to 25 chicken eggs. If you prepare it you need to make sure there are enough hungry people around so nothing is wasted.

Ostrich egg shells are significantly thicker than chicken eggs are. The egg shells can be used as ornaments decorating the egg shell with paintings and even carvings.

Ostrich has an excellent quality of leather that is thick, durable and extremely soft and it can be manufactured into a wide variety of products, such as jackets, bags, shoes and purses. 

Ostrich feathers are also popular ornaments and valuable commodity.

How much does an ostrich cost and produce?


If you want to figure out how much it costs to start an ostrich farm you have come to the right place. I will give you below the main figures regarding expenses and incomes you can calculate with.

If you want to raise ostriches you need to buy them depending on at what age you buy its cost will vary.

Fertilized ostrich egg$100
30-60 day ostrich $550
100-120 day ostrich$1.100
Yearling ostrich$2.500
Adult ostrich$7.500-$10.000

The cost of raising ostriches varies depending on how old they are.

adult $100

How much income can an ostrich generate?


Ostriches reach their sexual maturity at 2.5 year. This is when they start laying eggs. In the first year they lay only 12-18 eggs a year.

This number gradually increases until they reach the peak of their productivity between 7-11 years when they lay eggs between April and August every other day or every third day averaging between 40-60 eggs a year. 

These are averages only and there are exceptions to these numbers. Certain ostriches lay more than 100 eggs a year.

An ostrich egg costs around $40. That generates $2.000 annually per bird.

If you take into consideration that an ostrich can live under farming conditions for 75 years you can see how profitable ostrich farming can be.

Leather and Feathers

The skin and the feathers of the ostrich are also very valuable. One Square foot of ostrich leather costs $40 and a 1lb feather costs $40. An ostrich gives you 14 sq. ft. leather and 4lbs of feather.

That generates $720 per bird.


The slaughter age of an ostrich is between 10-14 months. At this stage an ostrich gives between 75-125 lbs of meat with an average price of $20/ pound.

That generates c. $2.000 per bird.


Figures are quite attractive if you consider how little they need compared to cattle. Yet there are quite a few caveats we make. 

Obviously you can’t make money in all the possible ways of ostrich farming, you need to choose an income stream or how you mix them.

The ostrich market is being developed and the demand for ostrich is increasing as many realize how healthy and environment friendly ostrich is.

Ostrich meat and skin isn’t easy to process; not every meat processing plant and tannery can handle them. You need to make sure that processing the skin and the meat is feasible.


Farming is a very appealing opportunity yet there are quite a few pitfalls you need to avoid. I hope this article helps you to find out whether this is what you want.


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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