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Ostriches Liven Up This Oklahoma Farm
"They'll eat beer cans or glass bottles so you have to be careful. One bird took my eyeglasses right off my head and I had to retrieve them from her throat," says Bob Moore, Inola, Okla., a cow-calf operator who's developed a profitable sideline business raising ostriches.
Moore, who obtained his first breeding stock from a zoo, says ostriches are easy to raise because they require little care, are not fussy eaters, and take little room.
Moore pastures the birds in groups of 3 - one male and two females - in 2 acre pens. Woven wire, 5-ft. tall fences keep them in.
Females lay an average of about 50 eggs per year, of which about 90% are fertile. Approximately 80% of the fertile eggs hatch out and about 80% of the hatched birds survive to adulthood about 3 years of age when they can be bred. Moore sells the non-fertile eggs to hobby shops for about $20 apiece and says the egg revenue just about pays his feed cost, which consists mostly of alfalfa cubes and mixed grasses.
Birds sell for anywhere from $450 for a 1-mo. old bird to $2,500 for a 2-year old hen.
"Most of the time they're gentle and make good pets but during breeding time they get testy and you have to watch out. One kick can knock you over. They're very territorial and will kill a dog or coyote that invades their territory," says Moore. During breeding he gathers eggs with a scoop that's got an 18-ft. handle.
In addition to ostriches, Moore raises other exotic birds and animals, including emus, rheas, and African pygmy goats.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert L. Moore, Flying "M" Ranch, Rt. 2, Box 418, Inola, Okla. 74036 (ph 918 341-5845).

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #2