The ostrich is a large flightless bird that originates from Africa. Its appearance is distinctive, with a particularly long neck and legs and a relatively smaller head. They are considered to be in the ratite family together with rheas, kiwis and emus. These birds are very swift with speeds that reach 70km/h, making them the fastest birds on land.
An ostrich’s diet consists of plants but they can eat animals like snakes. They are also territorial and nomadic. A threatened ostrich could lie on the ground or run away, but if it is cornered and has to fight it will throw some powerful kicks. (A kick from an ostrich could even break a lion’s jaw), which makes them a bit dangerous.
Ostriches have been kept by humans for both personal and commercial purposes. They give the largest eggs, beautiful feathers and their meat is quite marketable.
Ostrich as a Pet
Most people who have lived with these birds would advice you against it. The huge size is one issue, but they are also very unpredictable. They are triggered by movement and could easily attack by either pecking or kicking. If their behavior causes damage you would have to pay for it. Basically, one would point out that a large bird with a tiny brain is not exactly ‘pet material’…
You must also have a license in an area where ostriches are considered to be wild animals. In some parts you may require a permit for raising large livestock.
The area where ostriches are kept needs to be fenced, which brings about some extra costs.
Besides all these, it is quite possible to have an ostrich as a pet. You can easily find a breeder and buy a chick or chicks, plus raising them is not tough science. Ensure that their area is kept clean and warm as they do not do well in cold temperatures. You must then feed them foods that are meant for animals in the ratite family.
One of the most common questions asked about ostriches as pets is whether one can ride them. Considering their unpredictability, size and speed, it is probably never a good idea!
As pets, emus and rheas are a better option because they are only 5- 6ft tall so they can easily be managed. You may also not require a licence for them as they are not listed as dangerous. However, before keeping an ostrich as a pet you must talk to a person who is experienced in large bird keeping. You will most definitely need some first hand tips and advice!