South Africa's Ostrich Farming Industry

©Klein Karoo International
Free-range ostriches in lusern pastures near Oudtshoorn.

South Africa was the first country in the world where ostrich farming started on a commercial basis, in the mid-1820s feathers were harvested from live ostriches. The industry has grown enormously and South Africa is now the world’s largest supplier, 75% of ostrich products. A warm dry climate, excellent farm management, selective breeding, technologically advanced egg incubators and certified ostrich abattoirs deliver products of supreme quality, mainly to the European Union.

South African ostrich products include fresh and processed meat such as ostrich fillets, biltong and sausage, ostrich leather products and feather products.

Ostrich Eggs

Evidence of ostrich shells can be traced back as far as 7000 B.C when they were most probably used as a gift of tribute, drinking vessels or grave goods, symbolizing resurrection and eternal life....more

Ostrich Farming in South Africa

Ostrich farming in South Africa is small compared to the local beef, chicken and pork farming industries, but contributes up to 75% of the world’s production of ostrich products....more

Ostrich Feathers

The South African ostrich industry was created around the commercial farming of ostriches for their feathers and led to the crossbreeding of ostrich species to produce better quality feathers...more

Ostrich Leather

South African ostrich leather, with its distinct textured pattern of feather follicles, has a reputation of quality, durability and beauty. For example, even though it is thinner than cowhide, it is certainly stronger....more

Ostrich Production

Ostrich production in South Africa is unique in the sense that it is a low-carbon footprint, sustainable and socially responsible farming system that produces healthy and lean animal protein...more

Ostrich Species for Farming

Wild ostriches have roamed the African continent for centuries. These animals featured in Egyptian hieroglyphs and rock art, their feathers adorned the helmets of Roman warriors...more

Processing of Ostriches

When slaughtering and processing ostriches, it is important to evaluate the ostrich as a whole, because it has three main products - meat, skin and feathers - which determine the slaughter income....more