The Nutrition Requirements and Foraging Behaviour of Ostriches

  • Miao, Z.H. (SARDI-Livestock Systems, Roseworthy Campus, University of Adelaide) ;
  • Glatz, P.C. (SARDI-Livestock Systems, Roseworthy Campus, University of Adelaide) ;
  • Ru, Y.J. (SARDI-Livestock Systems, Roseworthy Campus, University of Adelaide)
  • Received : 2002.08.02
  • Accepted : 2003.01.14
  • Published : 2003.05.01


Ostrich farming is a developing industry in most countries in the world, with farm profitability being largely dependent on the quality of the products, especially skins and meat. To produce quality products, it is essential to ensure that nutrient supply matches the nutrient requirements of ostriches during their growth. To achieve this, information on feed utilisation efficiency and nutrient requirements of ostriches at different maturity stages is required. In South Africa, a number of experiments were carried out to assess the nutritive value of feed and to define the nutrient requirement of ostriches. These data were derived from limited number of birds and the direct application of the results to ostrich farming in Australia and other countries is questionable due to the difference in environment and feed resources. Initially ostrich farmers used data from poultry as a guideline for feed formulation, but in recent years more data has become available for ostriches. Ostriches have a better feed utilisation efficiency and a larger capacity of using high fibre feeds such as pastures than poultry. This review revealed that there are a number of areas there further nutritional research and development is required to ensure the ostriches are provided suitable diets to maximise farm profitability. These include the assessment of the nutritive value of feed ingredients for ostrich chicks and adult birds, the determination of nutrient requirements of ostriches under different farming systems, the development of ostrich diet for producing specific product, and grazing management strategies of ostriches in a crop-pasture rotation system.


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