Big Bird's African Cousin

Located 7 kilometres from Kitengela town in Kajiado County and an hour's drive from the Nairobi CBD lies the Maasai Ostrich Farm which was started in 1991, under the Merica Hotels Group. Ostriches, both male and female, were gathered from various National Parks in Kenya and breeding was started.

Today, the place draws people from all over the country and the world at large, with activities such as The Ostrich Farm Tour, Ostrich riding and Swimming being offered here.

During the Farm Tour, you'll get to see chicks as young as 2 and a half weeks up as well as fully grown and formed 3-year-old adults.  

Breeding season at the farm takes place between July and February. It is common to come across some deformed birds due to inbreeding.

The gestation period of an ostrich is 42 days. At birth, they are usually the size of chickens. They are fed poultry feed just like chickens, up until the age of 1.

I finally understood that the reason why a grown ostrich will normally bury its head in the ground is that they eat the roots of plants as well as sand and pebbles, which help in digestion.

It is difficult to tell the gender of an ostrich until about 1 to 3 years. Males' feathers will turn completely black whereas the females' will be brown-grey in colour.

Their eggshells can be used for decoration as centrepieces and as lamp and bulb shades. Here, these would normally go for Kshs. 3,500 per (empty) eggshell.

On the other hand, an ostrich egg would normally go for Kshs. 1,500.

I am yet to taste ostrich meat but, apparently, the taste is somewhere between that of beef and chicken (hmmm...). A kilogram would go for Kshs. 2,500 to Kshs. 5,500.

Ostriches can live up to 70 years of age. The older they are, the more aggressive they become.

Like snakes, they produce hissing sounds when agitated or when they feel threatened. 

They defend themselves through forward kicking. It is believed that an ostrich's kick can kill a lion.                                   Imagine what it would do to a human...




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