South Africa ostrich farming has been known for over 150 years.

South Africa ostrich farming has been known for over 150 years. They first began raising ostriches to sell ostrich feathers in 1864. By 1884, the ostrich feather industry was the fourth largest export in South Africa's economy, in the running with export sales of gold, diamonds and wool.

With the outbreak of WWI, the feather market completely collapsed.

Following the Second World War, the south africa ostrich farming industry was brought back, this time for feathers and skins.

When south africa ostrich farming first began, ostrich farmers purchased irrigated land, three pairs of breeding birds, a few sheds, incubators, some other miscellaneous equipment and a farmhouse. It was essential for the farmer to have a solid knowledge of the birds and their behavioral patterns.

Over the course of about five years, farmers would gather about five plumages from the ostriches. They found that after the fifth year, the quality seemed to decline.

Skip ahead to the 1980's, when ostrich and their eggs were exported from South Africa to other countries such as the United States and Australia. Currently, south africa ostrich farming holds the top position in ostrich production, as it is an international industry there, but the United States and Israel have well established their place in the ostrich farming industry.

The ostrich hide market is currently controlled primarily by South Africa with 80% of the value of the bird being in its hide. High quality leather items such as purses, boots and clothing are made from ostrich leather and are considered one of the most expensive, durable, strong, soft and luxurious.

The meat and feathers account for the remaining 20% of the bird. Despite the fact that ostrich meat is sold at prices 30% above the price of venison or beef, the meat is still considered a secondary profit compared to the profit gained from the sale of the hide.

Most of the meat is exported, but it is also sold locally as sausage (wors) and dried and spiced meat (biltong). South Africa has around 558 export registered farms that will produce nearly 300,000 slaughter birds each year.

South Africa's ostrich population ranks high for exports and is reported to be one of the top twenty agriculturally-based industries in the country. One of the great advantages for ostrich farming in this country is that the conditions are naturally ideal for keeping and breeding the large ratite birds.

Export income in the areas of just meat and leather are just around a billion each year. More than 65% of the world's ostrich population is found in South Africa. This country also accounts for 90% of the ostrich products available in the world. Oudtshoorn, located in the Southern Cape of South Africa, is the ostrich capital of the world.

Thankfully, the South African ostrich industry is consistently conducting research on how to effectively continue successful production of the ostrich. They want to continue to offer high quality products as well. Not only is the government conducting studies on how to do this, but private companies as well.

The South African Ostrich Business Chamber, or SAOBC, is an umbrella organization which represents the south africa ostrich farming industry. Of the SAOBC, there are two member organizations: the South African Ostrich Producers Organization and the National Ostrich Processors of South Africa.


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