Ostrich & Emu

Overview

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.  

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

The 2012 Census of Agriculture notes that 258 farms raised 6,540 ostriches and marketed about 3,141. This is a dramatic decrease from 2007, when 714 farmers raised 11,188 ostriches and marketed about 5,697. This continues declines 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 California and Florida. 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..
  • Analysis of the Ostrich Industry - World Ostrich Association, 2014.
  • Oklahoma State Ostrich Book - Introductory information on the various aspects of ratite production.
  • Ratites Fact Sheet, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), USDA, 2013 - Focus on ostrich, emu and rhea. 
  • 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.

Updated 2017.