Ostrich Farming Growing in Popularity in Ukraine
Ostrich farming started to pick up in Ukraine in the early 2000s
There are about 60 farms growing ostriches today in Ukraine. Despite the fact that some farms have existed since the 2000s, ostrich farming is still, undoubtedly, considered new and exotic.
“We were with my family in Thailand and visited an ostrich farm. Already upon returning to our father, the idea to raise these birds came up,” Alexander Kulishenko, a farmer in Chubinsky, in the Borispolsky District of the Kyiv region said. “After all, then in Ukraine, we practically didn’t have ostrich farms. Nobody did it. There was no breeding them. We bought the first (ostrich) families in 2003- 2004. We had no special understanding of how to raise them. There wasn’t a market for ostrich farms in Ukraine either, nor were there specialists, like veterinarians who would know about ostriches.”
Alexander’s family initially planned not to sell meat, but to sell hatched chicks to other farms. Indeed, in order to engage in meat and sell it, certain conditions are needed. In addition, the demand then and now was more for live birds.
Farmworkers unnecessarily try once again not to go over the fence where the animals are because it can be life-threatening.
“Ostriches don’t remember anyone. They live an average of 70 years. You can feed him and care for him for 70 years, but he won’t remember you. Besides, the ostrich is a strong bird. When you kick a square centimeter, you have 50 kilograms. That is, he can kill a person, ” Kulishenko said.
But the ostrich will not attack a person if he doesn’t enter ostrich territory, the farmer said. Therefore, fences are set up for people’s protection at least as much as to keep ostriches contained.
The mating season for ostriches starts when the weather gets warmer. In Ukraine, this is about the end of April or May. A family of ostriches consists of a male and several females, which he chooses for himself. They live on farms separately from others.
The farm of Alexander Kulishenko today also acts as a contact zoo. Here, tours are provided to everyone.
“We have about 15 species of different animals – birds, deer, donkeys and so on,” the farm director notes.
Ostriches are valued for their meat, skin (which is second only to a crocodile in strength), fat, feathers, claws, and eyelashes.
“Given that the ostrich’s farm is a practically waste-free production, where you can also conduct excursions, this direction can be considered very profitable. The increase in the number of individuals is about 8-10 percent per year. The profitability of such an enterprise can range from 20 to 40 percent depending on the number of ostriches that are grown on the farm, ” analyst Andrei Mokryakov said.