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Five reasons you should be farming with ostriches — Courtesy of Epol

As the world’s largest bird, the ostrich (Struthio camelus) weighs over 100kg and reaches a height of over 2m, with female ostriches being slightly smaller than the males. The small wings of the ostrich makes it impossible for them to fly, but they can reach speeds of up to 70km per hour when running.

Ostrich products

Feathers: Ostrich feathers are often used for cleaning purposes, as well as decorations and fashion. It has been found that the quality of the feather differs between the subspecies, and the South African Black ostrich has the best quality out of the three subspecies found here in South Africa.

Meat: Despite being a bird, ostriches have red meat, unlike the white meat of chickens. This meat is very similar in taste and quality to that of beef, and is considered a healthier alternative to beef due to the lower fat content and high iron content.

Hide: The hide of the ostrich is often used for leather purposes, and is considered one of the most luxurious types of leather. In fact, ostrich leather has been placed on the same level as crocodile and snakeskin. Ostrich leather is very soft and durable, and has a distinctive appearance due to the bumps that are caused by the feather follicles.

Eggs: Ostrich eggs are the largest eggs of any currently living bird and can weigh up to almost 2kg. The eggs are yellowish white in colour and the surface is pitted with various size pores.

Medicinal: Currently the medicinal properties of ostriches are being investigated, such as tendons of the leg that are being used to replace torn leg tendons in people. This is possible due to the length of the ostrich leg which is comparable to a human’s and the fact that it is very strong. Other medicinal investigations include that of the ostrich brain being used to study Alzheimer’s, and the use of transplanting corneas from ostriches to humans.