Modern ostrich farming in New Zealand commenced in 1994 with importation of eggs. In 1997 the first processing of ostrich meat for the domestic market occurred. By 1999 there were estimated to be 2500 breeding hens, 12,000 chicks and 10,000 rising 1-year-old birds. The current domestic market for ostrich meat is about 100 tonne annually and there has been an increase of 70% in the last 12 months. About 4000 yearling birds provide meat for the domestic market. Export of ostrich to Europe commenced in 2000. At current prices the limiting constraint is achieving 15 slaughter birds per hen each year. Slaughter birds need to be over 95 kg live weight. Quality of hen nutrition is considered a critical factor influencing embryonic mortality and chick survival. The target rate is being achieved by some farmers, but for this to be an industry average, further developments in breeding hen nutrition and young chick survival will be required.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 61, Christchurch, 42-44, 2001
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