Feed Recommendation - National Ostrich Company

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Feed Recommendation

Commercial Farming

Feeding Recommendations for Ostrich Rations


Bird Age

Feeding Rate


0-45 Days, or until eating 0.9kgs/day

Ad Lib (free choice)


45 Days to 365 Days (or slaughter if earlier)

Ad Lib to 7 months, thereafter
Ad Lib or limit fed 2.1kgs/day


Breeder "off season", Future breeders age 12 months to start of breeder season around 24 months of age

Limit fed 2.1kgs/day


Breeder Season

Limit fed 2.1kgs/day


Feed between 0 to 8 weeks (45 days) of age or until the chicks are eating 0.9kg per chick per day. Feed free choice and several times per day. Never feed more than 0.9kg per bird per day of Starter formula. As chicks approach eating the maximum of 0.9kg per bird per day, switch to Grower feed.


Fed free choice until they are consuming 2.1kg per bird per day. Then, check the average body condition of the birds. The backbone at the highest point on the bird's back should be even  with the surrounding muscle tissue (ideal). If backbone protrudes up higher than the surrounding muscle tissue, the birds are too thin and you should increase the feeding rate. On larger grower birds, more than 2.1kg can be fed if Body Condition warrants more feed but never feed less than 2.1kg  per bird per day. You can feed  Grower all the way through to slaughter (or to 12 months of age for adolescent breeders)





0-45 days


0-225 days



0-365 days



Note: These conversion rates are subject to Good Feed Management  and Good Farm Management with Good Farmed Birds. It's our  experience that if a figure of above mentioned  feed conversion is not achieved at 110kgs  live weight, then something is wrong (eg. Poor Feed Management, Poor Farm Management, Poor Genetics, Poor Breeder Management).

Cautions & Warnings Concerning Feeding Management:

1. Correct daily water intake for each bird is most crucial to proper feed digestion and feed utilization. Always make sure that birds have access to clean and fresh water. In winter time temperatures, birds will maintain their water intake and daily growth rates by providing warm water with a temperature of around 26 degrees C.  This can be an important chick growth factor in cold weather climates.

2. Always  accurately weigh your feed fed to the birds with an accurate scale so you know exactly what is going on each day. Never use a bucket or can filled to a certain level and fed by volume always feed by Weight as the weight changes from feed batch to feed batch and within a batch. It is also a good practice to record  the amounts fed daily so you can track that detail. You will learn a great deal about your birds doing that. In baby chicks, recording amounts fed will also pre-warn you of coming problems as they usually begin to back-off feed a couple days before a big problem.

3. Daily Feed Frequency: All birds should be fed a minimum of twice daily--early in the morning and again in mid-afternoon. This will not only keep the feed from being damaged by sunshine and weather elements, but it will also encourage increased feed intake to maintain proper Body Condition. Never feed birds late in the day as their only feeding for the day. If the sun goes down soon, the birds will not drink water during the night while key digestive processes are taking place. This will diminish proper feed digestion and feed utilization due to the lack of water in the intestines. Water is an important nutrient and the birds must have access to it after feeding time and for several hours after each feeding time.

4. Always be sure to empty feed troughs or pans before placing new feed in them. Never put new feed on top of old feed. Doing so will cause a decreased feed intake over time and cause problems with birds maintaining a proper Body Condition. The old feed from the day before can be placed in a separate trough or pan to see if birds will clean it up, but always give them the choice  in the matter.

5. It is most important that birds only be fed the recommended complete feed diet. A complete feed diet can be ground/mixed on the farm or it can be a commercial feed diet. In cold weather or times of extreme weather stress, increase  the daily feeding rate of the complete feed ration, don't  add anything else to the feed. This will give the birds an increase of daily nutrients to fight off any stresses resulting from the weather event. It is also good management to continue this feed increase until a day after the weather has returned to normal. This will help to maintain proper body condition during stressful weather occurrences.

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