So been on a bit of a journey with ostriches. It has been 3.5 years in and I am still working things out. Aotearoa use to have 20,000 of them in 1990's and like most things we got a bit carried away. A large amount of effort went into growing the industry and though there were a lot of good reasons why it should have taken off the timing didn't work out and largely by mid 2000s the industry had very much disappeared. Today there may be less than 400 left in New Zealand, with the bulk of those in Manawatu, where I happen to be. And the reason there is a reasonable chance for the industry to get established again is because of the Blundin family who have stuck it out and kept on farming ostriches even when the rest of the farming community had long ago abandoned the idea. If the industry is to come back it will be because of Ian and Rosemary's commitment to the birds and their potential.
And yes I do think it is an industry worth looking at again. There are a number of reasons but two that have always stood out for me are how healthy the meat is and the lower impact on the environment in comparison to existing meat-farmed animals. And though we are talking about building a category of meat production in a time when meat consumption is flattering if the future is about quality rather than quantity ostrich could be the perfect animal to build that niche on.
This year we are looking at our first breeding session. Maybe have 200 hundred birds to raise and I am keen to hear people's thoughts on how I can grow this industry and do it the right way this time. And I am sure there will be people from the boom back in 1990s that can give us some insight into what went wrong and what we can do now to get it right if we can. Is there a future in Ostriches in New Zealand.
Don't be too hard on yourself, Graeme - most of us have thought we would make our fortune on some farming venture, mine was firewood trees!
I think Kenny Rogers had the answer, You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away
See if the government wants them, they have quite a big flock with their heads in the sand !
5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine.