Ostrich & Emu


The ostrich, a flightless bird that belongs to the ratite (RAT tight) family and originates from Africa, is the world’s largest living bird. When fully grown, the ostrich (Struthio camelus) weighs approximately 450 pounds and stands eight feet tall. Emus are also ratites but native to Australia. They weight 125 to 140 pounds and stand about six feet tall. Other ratites include the rhea (South America), cassowary (Australia and New Guinea) and kiwi (New Zealand).  

According to the American Ostrich Association, there is no single, reliable, comprehensive source of information on production, prices and markets for ostrich products.

The 2007 Census of Agriculture (USDA 2009) notes that 714 farmers raised 11,188 ostriches and marketed about 5,697. This is a dramatic decrease from 2002, when 1,643 farmers raised 20,560 ostriches. The 2007 Census also notes that 3,621 emu producers sold 6,540 birds, which is also a large decline from 2002. Texas, followed by California and Kansas, are the top three states in ostrich production. Texas is also number one in the production of emus, followed by Alabama and California. Ostrich and emu are also raised in other countries including South Africa, Australia, Canada, China, France, Korea and the United Kingdom.  August 2011. More on ostrich and emu...

Other Links

  • American Emu Association - Membership-based organization for the development and promotion of the industry. Provides several online libraries of information of interest to the emu farmer.
  • American Ostrich Association - Membership organization that provides information about the industry and promotes products..
  • Commercial Ostrich Production - Economics, World Ostrich Association, 2003.
  • Emu and Ostrich Production, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Sydney, New South Wales, 2000 - Emu and ostrich production in Australia.
  • Emu-Spirit, Hillsboro, Texas, 2007 - A profitable farm-to-finish emu operation, this company represents three skin care product lines and a line of pet care products.
  • Game Bird Gazette - Industry updates and overview.
  • Indian Point Ostrich Ranch, Tehachapi, California - For 18 years, this ostrich ranch has been offering tours and supplying ostrich meat.
  • LB Processors, San Angelo, Texas, 2007 - This processor is one of the largest refiners of emu oil in the world. The state-approved food processing facility develops specialty oils for the cosmetic and dietary supplement industry.
  • Oklahoma State Ostrich Book - Introductory information on the various aspects of ratite production.
  • Ostrich Growers Meat Company, Watsonville, California.
  • Raising Emus and Ostriches, National Agricultural Library, USDA, updated 2001 - Collection of reports and research on the emu and ostrich industry.
  • Ratites, OMAFRA, Ontario, Canada, 2007.
  • Ratite Nutrition Articles, Blue Mountain Ostrich Feeds.
  • Ratites Fact Sheet, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), USDA, 2006 - Focus on ostrich, emu and rhea.
  • South African Ostrich Business Chamber - This organization promotes the South African ostrich industry, especially the producers and the processors of ostriches and ostrich products. 
  • World Ostrich Association - This organization was established in 2002 to provide and disseminate information and to develop industry standards for everyone involved in the industry, from producer to consumer.

Links checked December 2013.