The Klein Karoo : Heart of the ostrich industry

Feathers:By 1913 ostrich feathers were a major South African export product, and the industry experienced a `feather boom´. Meat:In the late 1920´s farmers started making biltong from ostrich meat, which soon became very popular and a great demand for it grew from there. Today the ostrich meat market is a growing international industry. Ostrich cuisine is also very popular in the restaurants of particularly Oudtshoorn. Tourism:Various ostrich show farms around the region offer the visitor a chance to get up close and personal with these peculiar birds. Various life stages of the animal can also be studied, from incubation to full grown adult birds. Visitors can also sit or ride on them, and a ostrich race with experienced jockeys usually end off a visit to a farm.

Interesting facts about Ostriches:

Standing 10 feet tall and weighing as much as 400 pounds, the ostrich is the largest living bird today.
Its powerful legs enable it to hit a top speed of 43 mph in a short burst and it has been known to kill with one kick.
Ostriches originated in the Asiatic steppes about 40 to 50 million years ago.
They once occupied all of Eurasia and Africa, but today can only be found on the hot arid savannas of Africa.
Ostriches eat mainly vegetation, insects, fruits, seeds, and nuts, but will occasionally feed on small mammals and reptiles.
A male will mate with several females, pair bonding with a dominant female. The eggs of all the females in the harem are laid in a communal nest, where both the male and female take turns incubating the clutch.
The ostrich lays the largest egg in the world, measuring 6 - 9 inches long and weighing 3 - 5 pounds. The eggs, numbering 30 -50 per communal nest, incubate for 42 days.
The ostrich egg is highly prized for its high protein content and is the equivalent of 22 hen’s eggs and takes up to 2 hours to hard boil. An unblown egg can take the weight of an adult without cracking.
Ostrich farming is a rapidly-growing industry. Ostrich meat is lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than chicken or turkey

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