which bird is best for me?

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by bravevline, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. bravevline

    bravevline Songster

    Apr 30, 2013
    after i buy my sportsman cabinet incubator, i plan to buy ostrich or emu hatching eggs from california hatchery and i need help deciding which bird is best. first question is which brings the most profit and how much do they sell. which is cheaper and easier to feed and who puts out the most eggs? also i would like to know laying age for emu
  2. bravevline

    bravevline Songster

    Apr 30, 2013
    rheas are also not out of the question but may be harder to obtain chicks/eggs
  3. The bottom fell out of the ratite market back in the 90's... so none of them are "profitable" since your market to sell them is much smaller now than what it was.. back then chicks would sell for several hundreds to thousands with breeding pairs going for 25K to 50K easily at auction and eggs selling for several hundreds up to a thousand each...

    Prices will vary depending on your location and supply / demand
    Today you are lucky to sell a chick for 25 to 75. each.. a few people locally have gotten 125 for a juvi... but that's pretty rare.. most of the time they end up with a surplus of chicks that they can't even give away.. or something happens to them and they don't survive (leg issues, predators, going through fences)..
    eggs (emu) are usually anywhere from 5 to 25 each as an average price and then you have to deal with people not getting them to hatch and demanding refunds or USPS damages (not every post office will honor broken or damaged eggs for the insurance)..
    adults are much harder to get rid of.. many people have to rehome them for free or face finding a way to butcher them

    meat and oil processing and selling may be regulated in your state.. and even at that there is a very small market for the products...

    female emu start to lay anywhere from 18 to 24 months of age (usually).. number of eggs will depend on the individual

    egg laying is seasonal.. so the birds must be tended to and fed for the remainder of the year.. since they are "slow to mature' compared to other birds you have to invest a lot into fences, feed and so on before you ever begin to see a return on your investment.. and that's if you don't lose your breeders to accident or other problems or they decide they don't like each other and refuse to breed...
    So if you're getting into this as purely a money making scheme... don't plan to retire on raising / hatching ratites..
  4. birdeo

    birdeo Chirping

    Apr 11, 2013
  5. 29PalmsRanch

    29PalmsRanch Chirping

    Apr 14, 2013
    That's pretty funny... Sorry but I completely disagree. I have no idea where you are getting your numbers or what hybrid of bird you are quoting, but you're off.

    Processing plant for my part of the country is in Kansas. The breeder market is scarce, sure. 20k per bird average was not sustainable. However there are three other ostrich farms/ranches besides my own who get 1k for 1 - 3 month old chicks, 2k for 4 - 6 month old chicks, and 3k for anything older than 7 months. Gentleman in Texas moved over 300 breeder birds this year and won't tell me how much meat he processed. I know it's a lot. One of my ranch hands used to work for him and made the introduction.

    The beauty of today's ostrich market is that US meat exporters are scrambling to fill in the gap left by South Africa from March 2011. It's going to take them more than a decade to recover. (Google it) The Euro market is screaming for ostrich meat (#1 consumer of ostrich meat in the word) and S Africa is barely able to fulfill 30% of the demand. Compound that by a growing demand for exotic meat in the US, mainly from 4 and 5 star restaurants with a VERY limited number of ranches like mine capable of scratching that demand... and we get more money for our red meat than the beef guys do.

    And with respect to laying seasons? Mine go from mid to end of January through mid to end of November with 2 - 3 weeks in the middle off for molting. They stop for 60 days at the middle to end of November and then by mid - end of January they are putting them on the ground again. We have two Hatchrites we located still in their shipping crates. One was in a warehouse in Kansas, the other was in a warehouse in upstate New York. Total capacity is 250 eggs between both machines. I had to fire up a NOM 45 this year that was mothballed to hold the overflow. Even then, we were holding eggs for up to 9 days this year because of the birds' extreme output. I have 221 cooking right now with 15 in holding that will be set tomorrow.

    So if you can figure out the logistics of processing and have the ability to self market, there is a butt ton of money to be made in my industry. The average is 22.00 to 25.00 per pound wholes for meat processed by a USDA facility. If you can't market or store your own product, then move it to the meat processors at 450.00 - 750.00 per bird. One way or the other, the birds will sell whether they are breeders, meat, or chicks. I've got 49 total coming up for sale. 20 are ready to go now. This is the fourth batch we are moving this year. My breeder and meat bird requirements are filled for the season. The first batch was gone in 10 days. This one won't make it through the end of the coming week. I prefer to move 1/3 meat, 1/3 breeders, 1/3 retained for future growth. And yes, I have the same price model as the man in Texas.

    One may not be able to get Rockefeller rich and retire from ostrich. But the deed to my property will be in my hands in 6 months. And I'm not ******* about it, I'll tell you that. Well I do exotic pheasants and quail too. So you're right, it's not ALL ostrich, but it's a chunk :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2013
  6. I'm talking about EMU in Texas in the 90's before the bottom dropped out of the market.
    Janice Castleberry and her husband made several million in a very short time from the emu market when it was in it's heyday.. now it's almost impossible to get a decent price for emu here in Texas... Janice still raises exotics and is an author on several books on raising emu for meat production.. She is one of the sources for the prices she was getting (one of the few people I know of who was successful with the emus) as well as here: http://posc.tamu.edu/files/2012/08/emuproduction1.pdf this is also from 1996
    from the pdf:
    "There are several options for getting into the emu business.
    Emu eggs and day-old chicks are seldom sold but possibly could be purchased for an estimated $1,000 to $1,500. Emu eggs
    probably are not insurable.
    Sexed emu chicks at 3 and 4 months old can be purchased for approximately $3,500 to $4,500 per chick or $7,000 to $9,000 per pair. A rule of thumb is to add $1,000 per month, per pair, after 3 months of age. Emu chicks appear to have excellent livability, and mortality between hatch and adulthood is minimal. The risk in buying younger emus is less than with ostrich chicks.
    Emus currently are insurable at 3 months of age, but this may change to 6 months by May 1993. A disadvantage of purchasing young chicks is the length of time until they are of reproductive age.
    Current prices for yearling emu pairs (sexed) are $12,000 to $18,000 per pair. Advantages of purchasing yearlings include the ability to estimate adult size and conformation, and insurability.
    The disadvantage is the time before reproduction capacity is known.
    Current price for 2-year-old emus are $25,000 to $28,000 per pair. Birds of this age are insurable and their adult size and conformation can be judged. They are also of age to reproduce
    and may already be reproducing: therefore, a quick return on investment is possible. However, the breeding and laying potential of the birds is unknown and 2-year-old pairs sold during the
    laying season may be culls.
    Proven breeding pairs currently can be purchased for an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 per pair. Quick return on investment is an advantage. Disadvantages include high cost, the special
    equipment and knowledge required for incubating and hatching eggs and the mortality risk of raising birds to a marketable age. "

    Directly after the bottom dropped out one rancher that I know of in particular could not even give away birds.. no one wanted them. He got in trouble with the local police when his birds tore down fences and got loose (over 200 birds).. The people who owned the property where I now live lost their shirts when the bottom dropped out.. the property was still set up for emu when we bought the place.. they ended up having to sell pretty much everything they owned in order to pay back the debt from their business endeavour. Even at the feed store where I go I am pretty much the only person who still raises emu.. everyone else shot theirs and put them in the freezer or in landfills because they were too expensive to feed several hundred head when there was no market for them.. One guy tried to give his birds away and still did not have any takers...
    The prices I listed for current prices are what I know people are getting for emus this year.. people I have spoken to and seen their ads.. also prices that I personally have gotten for the last of the juvis from this year.. so no.. my prices are NOT off for emus in Texas tyvm.

    We don't raise Ostrich.. I have no interest in them after having to tend to some for a friend.. however Ostrich farming was also not as popular here in Texas as emu farming was.. so I specified EMU in my first post.... not Ostrich.

    and the last thing I would do is to lead someone on by telling them they can make a fortune off of raising emus .. the reality of it is that there is not a market for the meat here in the US like they had hoped.. it may be possible to export the meat to other countries.. but what I was referring to was the market here in the US today as opposed to the 1990's.. If you have found a niche then good for you.. but I was not going to encourage someone to get in over their heads without stepping back and taking a good hard look at the demand (or lack there of) for emu meat here in the USA

    edited to add:

    BTW.. EMU are seasonal layers.. they do not lay in the middle of the summer here in the US... They start in the fall and end in early spring..
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2013
  7. Ostrich chicks 99.99 for 1 to 24.. price drops to 86.99 each for 100+ (currently out of stock)

    Floecks also carries them.. no price listed currently

    emu chicks craigslist
    EMU - $75 (Austin Tx.)

    They are great pets and funny too.
    Only 1 left.
    Baby emu's ready for good homes. 3Ft.Tall . Daddy raised

    • Location: Austin Tx.
    • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
    Posting ID: 4113613529

    Posted: 2013-10-06, 4:59PM CDT

    edited to add..
    the craigslist ad is not mine (I don't live in Austin and don't have any for sale).. just thought the OP would like to get an idea on prices..
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  8. moonjelly

    moonjelly Chirping

    Apr 10, 2013
    Has anyone ever actually seen California Hatchery with ostrich chicks in stock? I check back with them often and I'm on their mailing list to be alerted when they're available. Never have been and never seen it not say Out of Stock.
  9. yeah.. I have.. even got an email once letting me know they were available.. I don't think I'm still on their mailing list though since it's been awhile.
  10. bravevline

    bravevline Songster

    Apr 30, 2013
    the lady
    the floecks lady is not positive she will have them next year. she sells ostrich chicks at $250 straight run hatchlings and fertile eggs at $95, but said she would go down to $90 to help with shipping :)

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