Commercial ostrich farming originated in South Africa in the mid 1800s. At that time, feathers were the only products marketed from the ostrich which were used in the fashion industry. Ostriches were raised in the U.S. in the latter 1800s. As the fashion industry's requirement for feathers collapsed, so did the need for raising ostriches in the U.S.
The growth of the ostrich industry was controlled by the South African government. When they realized the vast commercial potential of ostriches, they passed the Klieg Karoo Control Act of 1947. This prevented any information on ostrich farming or research from being distributed outside of South Africa, and further legislation in 1959 made it illegal to export ostrich eggs or birds out of South Africa.
In the mid-1980s, several U.S. businessmen and farmers realized the potential of the ostrich business and acquired the few birds that were available.Today, lured by high swlling prices of breeding tock and low input costs, many people embarked in ostric prodution in 1980's and early 1990's. Markets for meat and other proudcts did not develop as quickly as anticipated. As a result most producers have the industry.
- markets are being developed and established in Canada and worldwide. Select fine restaurants across Canada are serving ostrich. Europeans place a premium on ostrich meat importing approximately 1000 tonnes annually
- the meat is a healthy, high quality red meat with the texture and flavour similar to
- the meat is high in protein and iron, low in cholesterol and calories
- leather market established worldwide
- custom manufacturing is done in Manitoba
- quality tanners in Canada (some hides are sent to England or Africa for tanning)
- unique appearance, soft, luxurious texture, ruggedness and endurance makes this quality leather attractive to the European, North American and Asian fashion industries
- natural oils make the leather resistant to stiffening and drying
- some products include boots, shoes, clothing and briefcases
- the fat is now being rendered down for use in cosmetic products
- the feathers are used for industrial cleaning applications by computer and automobile manufacturers
- egg shells are suitable for decorating whole or in various crafts