Let’s Celebrate : Ostriches

 

Ostriches are ratites and they are not able to fly because their body is too big and their wings are way too small. This is the largest bird in the world. They have the  largest eyes of any land animal. They can run up to 45 miles per hour. Having big eyes and being able to run fast is very important for ostriches because this enables them to runaway from their predators. When an ostrich feels threatened it does not stick his or her head in the sand, instead it runs. Ostriches also have a 10 second memory span so they could be running and after 10 seconds forget why they were running in the first place. They eat grass, small plants, insects, and snakes (omnivores). They eat their food whole without chewing, they simply swallow their food. They also swallow pebbles which help them digest their food better. They get water from the plants they eat.

Quail Run Ranch:

We were so glad that we drove past a sign that read Quail Run Ranch as we were passing by Lake Hughes, California. They have an open door policy which means that they are open any time for you. In 2013 they lost a lot of birds as a result of the Power House fire. “Ostriches do not mature until they are 4 years old so we mostly have baby birds.”- Jackie. This was such an educational experience for us. We learned so many things about Ostriches from Jackie.  When we arrived to the farm we first sat down and Jackie explained all there was to know about ostriches. We then were able to see the ostriches and feed them as well. We were extremely lucky because we got to witness the mating dance.

They are located at 44420 N Shaffer Rd Lake Hughes, CA 93532. Call 661-724-1592 to make an appointment.

Here are a few questions I asked Joel (the owner of the farm)

 

1) How long have you had your ostrich farm?
 I started the farm in 1992.
2) Why did you decide to raise ostriches?
I retired from being an Executive in the computer software industry and looked and modeled businesses where I could live in a beautiful rural area. It was either farming or ranching.The future of Ostrich products looked excellent and the industry was in it’s infant stage.Today the market for Ostrich meat, oil and hides continues to grow fueled by the needs of a health conscious population.The tourist component of our working ranch was a natural addition that has brought thousands of adults and children to experience and enjoy the ostrich, while learning  about this alternative livestock.
3 )What one would you say you love about ostriches?
Raising, breeding and hatching ostriches is fun.Ostriches are clean, healthy and produce three pound eggs. I love that the Ostrich is closely linked to Dinosaurs. Just this week we had four school field trips with kids ranging from Kindergarten to second grade.They play games and race ostrich eggs down a hill.  Being part of that experience moves a good day into a great day category.

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ostrich farm

 

 

Ostrich Egg:

We bought an ostrich egg and emu egg. We decided to make scrambled eggs with the ostrich egg. We wanted to keep the ostrich egg so my husband drilled into the shell since the shell is said to be 10 times thicker than the egg of a chicken. After you drill the hole you want to insert  a straw and use the air from a tire pump, this way the egg will be completely empty. We also rinsed the egg with hot water multiple times and tipped the egg over.

We have never seen so much egg in our life, one ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs. We made scrambled eggs. To be honest we did not enjoy the smell or the taste of the ostrich egg. I’m sure that someone who cooks or bakes with an ostrich egg often knows how to make it taste good. The whites of an ostrich egg was rubbery and reminded us of jell-o. I’m glad we tried it and I recommend everyone to try an ostrich and emu egg at least once in their life.

Ostrich eggs weigh on average 3 1/2 to 5 pounds. If you would want to hard boil the egg you would need to do it for 90 minutes. The ostrich egg is a much healthier option then a chicken egg.

An ostrich hen can lay on average 40 to 100 eggs per year. Ostriches have one nest that all the female ostriches share (known as communal nest). They make a small pit on the ground and the hen sits on the eggs during the day while the male sits on the nest during the night. The main female will lay about 10 eggs in the center of the nest and the other females will place their eggs outside of the nest. A communal nest can have up to 60 eggs. The eggs have to stay 96-98 degrees in order for them to hatch. If the egg hatches it does so about six weeks after the eggs have been laid. The chicks are 1 foot tall and weigh 3 pounds when born.

 

ostrich egg 2 _DSC0428 (4) ostrich egg _DSC0493 (2)

 

Ostrich fun:

We love hands on fun so we decided to draw a 7 foot ostrich. On average an ostrich is 7 to 9 feet tall and weighs 220 to 350 pounds. Elizabeth drew the ostrich foot using 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of water, food coloring, and a drop of vinegar. The ostrich is the only bird that has two toes. “Ostriches whether they’re old or new only add up to two, and one of them doesn’t have much to do, so ostriches count on only one to speed them along on a walk or run under the dusty yellow sun.”- Aileen Fisher. Ostriches are very good kickers and their kick can kill a human or predator (lion). We also made a pen out of an ostrich feather, this way we will always be able to find a pen when we need one. What fun it was for Eve to play with an ostrich or should I say duster made out of ostrich feathers.

 

ostrich art

ostrich foot ostrich fun

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4 Responses

  1. Wow girl that is a lot of egg! I learn so much from your post. I wish we had something like that here. Your kids did a good job on their ostrich painting.

  2. I have never eaten an ostrich egg or been that close to one. How neat and what a great experience.

  3. This looks like it was a lot of fun. The kids would really like the ostriches.

  4. It made me laugh that the Ostrich only has a memory span of 10 seconds. I’m going to have to try an Ostich egg. I also didn’t know they were related to the Dinosaurs.

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