Since ostriches make an unconventional poultry option, it can be difficult to find all the information in one place as a first-time buyer. A plethora of listings from sellers can make the whole endeavor arduous and overwhelming. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision when buying an ostrich.
Buying ostriches is not as simple as ordering chicks from a hatchery. You will need to find the right supplier, consider the rules and regulations, and be willing to pay a significant amount of money.
These are the things we will be covering in regards to buying an ostrich egg, chick, or breeder pair:
- Where to buy an ostrich
- Do you need a permit to keep an ostrich? What are the regulations?
- How much does it usually cost?
Table of Contents
Pick a Breed
There are many breeds that you can choose from depending on the availability and behavior. The most commonly kept breeds are:
- Black-Necked or Southern Ostrich is native to the southern African region
- Red-Necked or North African Ostrich is native to the northern African region
- Blue Neck or Somali Ostrich, mostly found in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia
Some keepers believe that Black-necked ostriches are easier to keep as they are relatively smaller. If you are new to raising ostriches, you may consider getting this breed.
Where Do You Buy an Ostrich?
Finding a good supplier or breeder to acquire the birds is crucial. Ostrich farms are not something that you can find down the road. The most convenient way of buying an ostrich, in case, you cannot find a local ostrich farm is to go online.
Most suppliers have their own website, or they sell on websites like Amazon and Alibaba. Although going on the internet to buy poultry is easy, it has its pitfalls too.
It is difficult to tell from a simple website if the supplier is trustworthy. Buying online gives you the freedom to compare prices and read testimonials, etc.
However, buying from a local farm allows you to have more control over your purchase. You will also have a chance to ask the breed about the practicalities involved in ostrich breeding.
Buying Ostriches From a Farm
Some farms allow you to walk in and tour their farm. Other farms require that you schedule an appointment (by phone or online) if you want to visit their farm to take a look around and make a purchase.
It is better to call before showing up and inquire about the breed and age of ostriches that they are selling. You can also take this opportunity to ask about the required documentation or related regulations.
Visiting a local farm will help you get an insight into how the ostriches are being raised and fed. If you are purchasing an ostrich online or even importing one, it is crucial to check if the supplier is trustworthy since you cannot visit the farm.
Buying Ostriches Online
An alternative to buying from a farm is buying online. A simple search for buying live ostrich in your country on most trading websites or search engines will get you a list of farms.
Alternatively, you can look for websites of ostrich farms in your country or outside (if you wish to import). Usually, well-reputed farms are listed on the country’s ostrich association website. You can also visit the American Ostrich Association Facebook group.
To determine if an ad is authentic, you must know the usual units of ostrich sales. If you want to purchase a fertile egg, you should pick sellers that sell by the egg. Also, make sure that the seller mentions the minimum number of eggs that you can purchase. Similarly, day-old chicks are sold by the chick. Breeder birds are usually sold in pairs.
This means that you should avoid ads that sell in other units, for instance, you should be cautious of ads that sell chicks by weight (in pounds or kilos or even liter). Similarly, if a seller is selling eggs and chicks in pairs, you should be wary.
Another red flag when purchasing ostriches is inadequate or exceptionally low prices.
Although ostriches make a tiny portion of the poultry market, they are highly sought after. Combined with a long breeding time, they are not cheap to buy, and a very low price should make you more than just a little suspicious.
Any posting quoting below the average market prices can be a potential fake. Fertile eggs sell for at least $25. Day-old chicks can cost around $500 or more. Growing chicks, yearlings, and breeders are more expensive. A good breeder pair can cost as high as $10,000 but you may also find lower prices.
Unless you visit a farm or a breeder to buy an ostrich, it is very likely that you will have to skim a lot of ads to find the right supplier.
While you go through the ads, remember to eliminate the choices that look suspicious. Here are the things to watch out for while going through ads to buy an ostrich:
- ads that put chicken egg cartons or other poultry eggs in the pictures.
- the seller puts the wrong picture in the ad, for example, breeder pair picture on a day-old chick ad
- the seller is reusing photos for multiple ads and changing the contact details
- the ad is for a specific breed but shows an image of another breed
- the website looks unprofessional or fishy
- The ad has a lot of grammatical errors or the language is bad in general
- the quoted price is way too low
- the ad claims a 100% hatching rate of eggs
- the ad suggests postal services for shipping eggs and chicks
Regulations: Do You Need a Permit to Buy an Ostrich?
Before buying an ostrich or importing one, you should research your local laws and regulations. Some states categorize ostriches as exotic birds; this means you will need a special permit or license to keep them. If you decide to import the birds, you should check your country’s regulations.
Check if the seller is able to export to your country or region. Make sure you have all the important information about the supplier, for example, the name, location, and export registration number.
Different countries have different regulations and veterinary certification requirements. Therefore a bit of research is needed before purchasing an ostrich and you call the local departments responsible for managing these affairs in your area. You will also need this information for shipping the birds.
The supplier will only be able to quote the shipping price once all the regulations and requirements are known. Remember, you will need a permit if your state considers ostriches exotic birds.
If you are living in the U.S. and planning to start a farm of your own, your state may require you to take an ostrich husbandry course. Before buying an ostrich, check for your state’s or country:
- Permit requirements and regulations
- Veterinary certificate requirements
- Country’s live animal import/export requirements (If you are importing)
The one-time cost depends on whether you decide to buy eggs, chicks, or adults. It also includes the cost of fencing, land, and shelter. Yearlings can cost you around $2,500 to $3,000 each.
If you decide to get a breeding pair, it will cost you much more. The average cost of an adult bird is around $7000 to $10,000. Before making a purchase, make sure that you buy from a good ostrich farm or supplier using the guidelines above.
|Ostrich Chick||$500 and up|
|Yearlings||$2,000 and up|
|Adults||$7,500 and up|
Some farms only sell adult ostriches and others do not sell live ostriches at all. In the end, it comes down to finding a trustworthy farm or supplier that sells ostriches at a feasible cost.
Cost of Buying and Raising Ostriches
Besides the one-time cost, you will also need to invest monthly to take care of the birds.
The monthly cost to raise an ostrich depends on the age of the bird. Typically, they just need their food, water, and shelter. You may also need a vet now and then to check on the birds.
Below are estimated monthly costs of raising one ostrich:
|Ostrich Chick||$50 per month|
|Yearlings||$75 per month|
|Adults||$100 per month|
Ostriches are hardy birds and can protect themselves against predators very well, but if you decide to keep them you will need to provide these birds with adequate feed and shelter.
Ostriches are herbivores and their diet comprises of flowers, grass, seeds, leaves, nuts, and insects. Like chickens, they need the grit to break down their food.
They can survive in hotter regions, even without water for a long time but it is important to provide them with fresh water on the farm. Ostriches are mostly quiet but can make some noises during mating season which usually goes from April to August.