Ostrich Egg Cam Live!

Ostrich Egg Cam Live!

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Baby Ostrich Cam Live!

Baby Ostrich Cam Live!

Pets, Animals - Birds

2,843 followers 1,399,840 views
December 3, 2013
December 3, 2013

A trip out to the Ostrich Hatcher

Despite Popcorn being gone, we drove out to the high desert. We wanted to meet The Hatcher, who is a very nice man. He has lived in the high desert his entire life on this ranch. He showed us the seven ostrich chicks that are five months old, they were in a pen with chickens, and two Emus. The Hatcher likes to put a brand-new baby chicken chick in with baby ostriches, and they do grow up together. He has a 20-year-old male ostrich as well. This was going to be Popcorn’s foster family.

We discussed ostrich egg hatching techniques, and his wife presented me with a gift of a piece of ostrich egg shell painted with four ostrich chicks. She is an ostrich shell artist. It was beautiful countryside, I look forward to returning someday. Of course I wish that Popcorn could be there..

I will celebrate our experiences and friendships. I do not anticipate further updates for a while.

December 2, 2013 9:00 AM
Personal update
The cam is off, and social stream will stop in a few days. This should give everyone a chance to say goodbye.
Yesterday was quite a day. Popcorn had free access to the garden and the backyard. She elected to spend a lot of time on the porch. The children opened the patio door and let Popcorn in. t the 3 of them were watching SpongeBob, with Popcorn sitting on the living room rug, and pillows piles high to block her from wandering into the rest of the house. When my wife found this she escorted Popcorn out.
I underestimated the aggression of the raccoons, and of course I am very upset at myself for this.
I decided I am going to go ahead and drive out and meet the ostrich hatcher. I have the afternoon off anyway, and I could use the time alone in the car to relax and think. Also I am looking forward to seeing a group of young ostriches that are healthy and happy. I will take pictures and report back to you.
In addition to being therapeutic, this will be an educational opportunity, so I can consider what might happen next year. I do love hatching and raising ostriches, but I will have to step up my game to limit the amount of tragedy that is associated with this. I regret bringing nice people like you into this, and then having so many problems. If I do decide to try again, it will be better. Including a place where the older ostriches can go so you can come visit them. My next update will be with photographs of the ostrich hatchery.
Since July 6, 2013 I have been incubating and turning eggs, and hatching and raising ostrich chicks. In the process I have met some absolutely fantastic people.
The kind and knowledgeable rancher JB has been fantastic. He has a large and busy business, but has never hesitated to give me his advice, and be available on the phone. My main avian vet, TM, has been extraordinarily generous with her time, always answering my emails and phone calls, and on her own volition discussed cases with various other veterinarians. The avian surgeon up north in Oakley did give generously of his time reviewing the case and videos.
The mods have been very understanding and objective, and help make this a much better experience for everyone.

December 2, 2013 1:00 AM
Popcorn injured by raccoon, had to be put to sleep immediately at vets.

At 11:40 a pair of raccoons were in the yard, and one reached underneath the corner of the cage and somehow got Popcorn on the right leg. She managed to pull away, but the injury was severe and she was taken to an emergency vet clinic nearby and immediately humanely euthanized.

I was called by the mods, whom I would like to thank as well as the cam watchers or else Popcorn may have been hurt for hours.

It must have been a blind grab for over 4 inches, I was warned to put mesh into the ground and floor but I did not.
December 1, 2013 Sunday 9:45 PM

The kind and knowledgeable rancher found a home for Popcorn, about two hours from here. The adopting family are animal lovers. The new home is a ranch with many younger ostriches in a 75 foot pen with a central barn. He will always treat Popcorn special, she is a pet. He will be careful how he integrates her in with the rest of the ostriches.When she outgrows the pen she will be moved to a larger pen with some of her friends.

Popcorn will be leaving tomorrow (Monday) around noon for the next part of her adventure. I am happy for her, this is the best thing for her and she will develop normally.

So after noon Popcorn will say thank you and good-bye. There will not be anything to broadcast after that. I will post updates after I return tomorrow.

I have met some incredible people and I want to thank the people following this for their heartfelt support and kindness.
December 1, 2013

Popcorn does wander in the yard. But she likes to settle down at the
porch window. So I put a mat , food and the heat lamp in her favorite
spot. I sit on the patio with her, drink coffee and read. She is welcome
to go into the garden, there is no longer any fence to contain her.

I am still looking for an ostrich friend, in the meantime we will try a
bunch of tricks.

December 1, 2013
Socialization, it didn’t really work out with the chickens. I put two chickens in with her and one would tend to peck her on the head, so I removed Buffy. Within 18 hours, the other chicken Ginger would occasionally peck popcorn on the head, even with the entire back yard to roam in, and then Popcorn would run about two or 3 feet. There was no real comfort, she was indifferent to the chicken, minimal grooming at night in the box. Mostly the chicken just paced and ate all night.

I noticed as long as I was in the backyard working, Popcorn seemed fine and didn’t get distressed. When she could see me she would get distressed after 5 or 10 minutes. I believe that since she grew up in our kitchen she’s used to seeing me and I’m a poor substitute but at least something familiar to her as family. Yesterday I sat on the porch with some family members on the patio furniture, towards evening, and she was perfectly fine to come and sit on the grass at the edge of the porch a few feet away from us. However when she’s out of sight of us, like placed back in the enclosure for the night, she tends to run back and forth and get distressed.

Since I couldn’t trust my current chickens to not peck her on the head, I put in a soft stuffed teddy bear, made with real lamb’s wool. Curiously, she immediately began to groom it. I think she did better with that than with the chicken.

When we come home we find her sitting at the porch window, watching for us to come home. It’s warm and there is food in the enclosure, but she would rather sit there and hope to get some company. Last night when I put her in the enclosure I pulled up a lawn chair and sat with her, so she went to her sleeping spot and finally dozed off.

She seems somewhat soothed and calm with human companionship. I don’t want to make any assumptions here, and I really cannot get a sleeping bag and sleep inside the ostrich pen at night to keep her company. When I am in the house my wife would shout “Popcorn is trilling” and I would run outside so Popcorn could see me and she would stop.

I moved the 4’ x 8’ enclosure that has the large cardboard box with heat lamps off the patio and onto the other side of the yard. The floor is grass, and I made the bedding area about 4 inches thick with alfalfa to keep her up off the ground and a bit warmer. The problem is that from the angle that the enclosure now rests she cannot see me when I’m sitting on the couch in the living room.

She really needs the company of another ostrich.

November 28, 2013
First night for dorm roommates

Ginger is in with Popcorn. (Buffy would occasionally peck Popcorn, so I put her back in the coop.). I have not seen them both asleep, I can’t believe they are bot still up. Interesting that Ginger chose to be warm and stay by the heat lamp below rather than go roost higher up.

This is a temporary solution to keep Popcorn busy, eventually Popcorn should socialize with other ostriches. I do not know how long it will work with Ginger as a companion. I will try to keep Popcorn as long as it’s in her best interest.

I would like to thank everyone for your kind expressions of condolences for Rascal.

This leg deformity is fairly common in ostriches. She knows we did our best to help her.
November 27, 2013
Day at vet

Rascal and Popcorn spent the day at the vet, I dropped them off at 8 AM and came at 430 PM. It was unfortunate, but there was nothing more that could be done for Rascal. Her leg had progressed, and attempts to try to splint would not align it properly. Also there are some early signs of joint damage. The prospects after any surgery were very dim, there was no splint that would correct her properly. The decision was made that it would be humane to stop here. We all said good-bye to Rascal.

Popcorn is in with Buffy and Ginger, the two friendliest chickens, to keep Popcorn company. They are 7 months old, Buff Orpingtons. I made a bed of alfalfa for everyone.

November 26, 2013
This sling was made from a recyclable nylon bag, it is more comfortable for Rascal, there are springs on the tether so she can sit down. The runner goes the full length of the pen. There is another runner outside, where she could go 40 feet if she wanted. She moved pretty good, but her bad leg does not get better and would need a splint. We are trying to see if one is feasible (will she tolerate it). Meanwhile she enjoys the extra support. Her wings are outside and partially cover the sling. It looks like a stork just brought her in. She is a good bird.

The warm box was enlarged, with an opening in the roof so the leash can slide through it.

November 24, 2013 Rascal in a sling

I do not get the sensation of stress with the sling. I get the sensation that she is using it to help her walk. When she stands she gets no support, only if she stumbles or leans does it start to hold her up.

I put a pulley but since it is rope (not coated cable) it does not slide smoothly, need to update hardware tomorrow. But she seems to really enjoy it.

My hope is to give her several sessions a day with increasing time, and see if she eats more and thrives with the exercise and being able to follow Popcorn. If this succeeds, I hope to be offered a splint from a vet who may reconsider trying something radical. (To me if surgery was an option with a huge likelihood of catastrophic failure, trying a few things and a splint shouldn't be out of line. )

She does not want to sit down after she gets out of this, she seems excited (happy?)

November 24 update day 43

Rascal followed Popcorn into the yard on her own power after snuggling all night in the warm box. She is still very wobbly when she walks and stands, but wants to follow Popcorn and eat.

No vet will offer Rascal a brace as it is felt this is progressive and incurable. The assumption is she will not tolerate any splint or brace or restriction, then won't eat, and will get upset and struggle. They are experienced and I am sure they are right. I will do the humane thing when I feel the time is right.

Nevertheless I may try a sling for a few minutes to see if she will tolerate that to help support her when she is in the yard. I will see if she gets used to it, but won't push it. If she does tolerate it I will put up a runner so she can move about the yard. She does not mind being held and petted. She loves to eat like a kids enjoys ice cream. Popcorn won't leave her.

November 23, 2013 Day 42

Rascal is still eating and can walk a bit and seems OK. Her walking is not improving, she is slowing down.
Popcorn is racing around the backyard, then comes back to sit next to Rascal. They groom each other.

As a special treat I have been giving them some organic chicken scratch, which they love. They are basically standing on piles of food.

November 21, 2013
Day 40

Rascal is not in pain or suffering, but she is finding it increasingly difficult to walk, as was predicted by the experts. She and Popcorn love each other and greatly enjoy each other’s company. I will keep them together as long as possible.

However when Rascal is unable to get up and walk she will be very stressed. I turned off the camera to afford them private time together. I had hoped to be with them for 40 years. When it is time, Popcorn will be taken to a hatcher who has other ostriches that are young. We need her to be as big as possible so she can fit in comfortably.

I know many of you have been following since they were eggs, and you love them as much as I do. You are all very compassionate people, I so respect you for that. How animals can touch our hearts is a powerful thing. It’s Love.

I will keep you posted, the only thing that is going on is the cam is off. They are still together in the warm house, they have plenty of food, and I will let them out tomorrow and will hold Rascal up if I have to.

-November 20, 2013 Day 39

They spent more time in the yard today, over an hour total. I experimented with different braces that will just help support rascal a little better, kind of like a cane. I will probably remove the brace at night so she can rest comfortably when she sleeps as the braces a little bulky and she cannot fold her legs properly underneath her.

Popcorn 3400, Rascal 2640 this evening. .Popcorn’s weight is soaring, Rascal is lagging behind and has not really gained weight in the last week.

The new enclosure is most of the grass area of the yard, which will be converted to some sort of aviary for the ostriches. I was advised it’s not good for them to eat a lot of grass, they seem to enjoy pecking at it and when I leave them out for long time I’ll make sure there are other things to eat. They really enjoy the chicken layer crumble, more that the ratite pellets. They pick at the alfalfa to keep busy.

November 17, 2013 Day 36
They are growing and stable

I am running out of adult ratite food (the green pellets ), so I am mixing more greens in and will use some chicken food to keep them going until the special order comes in on Thursday. (They thought it would come sooner, but it will be OK). They love the greens and I enjoy watching Rascal be enthusiastic about food,

The enclosure is a bit small for P{opcorn, but OK for Rascal. I put another layer of dirt in there. The watering dish is 2.5 gallons and it is working out. They like the heat lamps so they will stay on.

The main issue now is if Rascal can adapt and get by with the leg deformity. At this point with surgical and bracing remedies determined to not be feasible she has to make it on her own./ There is no signs of joint inflammation, and no discomfort although she seems to have a degree of frustration as she wants to keep up with Popcorn.

November 14, 2013 Day 33
Popcorn 2860 grams, Rascal 2600 grams
I let them out for limited times in the yard each day, they put so many things in their mouths I am afraid they are going to eat something like a piece of plastic wrapper or a big stone, and I do not know if they would get sick from eating the leaves of the garden vegetables. They seem to be holding up pretty well with the excursions into the yard. Onions, garlic and broccholi leaves are OK it seems.
It is a bit of a challenge to reel Popcorn in when she is in the great outdoors, but poor Rascal is pretty easy to catch. I put in the larger watering dish today, 2 ½ gallons.
They are on regular maintenance food pellets now, no more chick starter food. I used to use a small cup to refill their plate, now I have use a coffee can, they are really going through the food. They just love the fresh green so I am probably giving them too much, lettuce, spinach, and kale. I am chopping it since they seem to have problems with the stems. As ‘Talonstrike’ said, we are getting to know the “business end” of ostrich chicks pretty well.

November 12, 2013
Day 31
Everything is stable.

Their beaks get full of dirt from pecking on the ground, so when they go in the water – it gets muddy. They are completely indifferent to the second identical water dish that’s 2 feet away. I expect the new watering dish tomorrow.

Rascal’s leg:
Rascal is progressing. She does not fall down much and is getting a little bit more confident in my opinion. When she stumbles, she does run back to the box for safety and comfort. When she is outside, she wanders about at will and is fearless. I kept a closer eye on her. She did fall one time, but went to her stomach, rested a second, then stood up and walked again. I don’t really have a way to limit overuse of Rascal’s leg, I would have to confine her, and she seems to rest when she gets tired anyway. It’s all self-rehabilitation for her. So far it has not been difficult to catch Popcorn. I have not trained them to come when they are called or anything like that.

Outside in the yard behavior:
Rascal seems to enjoy the onions and garlic leaves. Popcorn went to the broccoli leaves. When Rascal gets out of sight of me and Popcorn, she does begin trilling. I just walk in her view and she stops and is fine.

When they walk along they test every leaf, stone and whatever in their beak. They are indifferent to the chickens.

November 10, 2013
Day 29

Therapeutic exercise was letting them wander in the yard for about 10 minutes. Rascal maneuvered well, even going up and down uneven terrain. So far so good.

I sprinkled oyster shell in the food and in the dirt.
I put grit in the food
I am still adding some chick vitamins to the water.
Nearly done with the chick medicated feed, will be completely on ratite 18 % soon.
I put extra alfalfa in a cut milk carton
I am giving them spinach until I can find Kale.

November 8, 2013
No surgery possible, plan is self-rehab and physical therapy.
A number of specialists have gone over Rascal’s case. The local veterinary surgeon specialist examined Rascal today and said that they cannot do anything.
The Avian expert from Oakley has raised ostriches himself. He reviewed the e-mailed x-rays and discussed the case with my avian veterinarian by phone. He has performed dozens of orthopedic procedures on angular limb deformities in birds. However for a number of reasons there is almost no success rate. This would involve osteotomy, external fixation, and these frequently break down especially with such thin small bones that are still growing, with disastrous results. It is not a simple matter of moving a tendon over and tightening it to rotate the leg in the correct orientation. He does not give a very good prognosis for Rascal.
The GOOD news is that Rascal is eating very well and appears healthy otherwise. My veterinarian, who has not given up, has tried a number of substrates and found that if she had footing that had bumps in it, she was able to get her foot against it and could stand up. Rascal was found standing this morning. This is with a memory foam type mattress that sort of looks like an egg crate. My plan is to obtain this type of mattress, and put it in the box that is her house where she would sleep and allow her some help to get up. Otherwise she can walk in the dirt, as she needs to learn how to walk on that surface. She needs a LOT more exercise and walking.
On Tuesday I will discuss with the Oakley avian specialist what a rehab program would entail to help Rascal learn to walk in the most optimal position.
In summary, the plan is:
I will bring the ostriches home tonight,
I will do some final raccoon proofing measures, including a trap.
I will wait for her to gain some strength and weight with free feeding
Physical therapy and gait training next week (when I learn how to do it.)
The kind and knowledgeable Rancher did give me some very good advice for Popcorn, which I do not need at this time since Rascal is coming home.
It was a little strange last night without the ostriches. My kids asked over and over again when they were coming back, I think they were suspicious.

November 7, 2013 Day 26
Rascal’s splinting was not successful. In fact things could not be much worse.
When the splint was removed, her right leg went to the exact same position as it was before, and she had the same difficulty. In addition to no improvement, she lost over 100 g, while Popcorn had gained 500 g. So in addition to no improvement with the splinting, her distress and discomfort caused her to lose weight.
The vet tried some smaller splints just to hold the leg in, so it would not drag behind her and she could not tuck it underneath her. No matter what size splint was applied, she would not eat, and was distressed. She did not want to be bound at all.
So far all treatment has been unsuccessful. The initial watching for a few days after hatching to see if she would improve on her own failed. The short brace that she used for one week failed. This more aggressive splinting of both legs with an attempt to bring the leg in failed, and caused her stress and weight loss. An additional splint attempted today failed.
X-rays were taken, and these were e-mailed to an avian surgical specialist, in Oakley. This is to see if there would be a surgery, such as bringing over a tendon or ligament and screwing it to a different location, would be helpful. My status is that I am awaiting word from him to see if there is a surgical option.
If it is an option, we would consider it. If it is not an option the choices are to allow her to try to adjust and walk with a failing leg. (The kind and knowledgeable rancher said that this could happen.) I would get the opinion from the doctor in Oakley if this was a possibility, or futile.
A personal comment: To people who are wondering why I would do this to Rascal, please understand I am trying to help this bird. Of course my stomach was in a knot when I watched her struggling, and I feel terrible that my attempts to help her have not been successful so far. Dissenting opinions about all this, (presented in a civil manner), are understandable.

November 6, 2013
Day 25, day 4 of splint
Rascal is comfortable in the new box

I thought she was distressed from being immobilize, but I think partially she may have been uncomfortable. The original support using towels around her legs was not very good, and the puppy harness did not work out well.

I made a hammock -like sling for her to rest her entire body on, with a hole so her legs would go through. This was with soft foam, and covered with a towel to make it more breathable. The back part is covered with a disposable pad. I also put a side opening so that I can observe her legs and check them for pressure and swelling on the side.

Rascal immediately relaxed and seemed to enjoy it. Also Popcorn was able to come up and get close to her, and start grooming her. I did put a box next to Rascal with a towel on it if Popcorn wanted to snuggle, but Popcorn got too nervous on the platform so that didn’t work out.

I gave Rascal three tube feedings yesterday, and one tube feeding this morning, but I think she’s going to start eating now. I am feeling better about this now, since she’s not in distress and has a place to rest her head. I attached some pictures of the box being constructed.

November 4, 2013
Day 23
New harness for Rascal

It was a difficult first day for Rascal. She struggled and fought and tried to escape from the restrictive brace. This was not helping her. The feeding bowls were wide open on top and her head would sometimes drift into the open bowl of water. I took a piece of cardboard and cut holes in it big enough for her to put her beak, so she can eat and drink, and now she can also rest her head in front of her without going into the bowl.

She was propped up on rolled up towels, but that is a little bit too warm, and very restrictive. However when she was struggling really hard it was necessary to keep her from loosening something or hurting herself.

The fact that she is tolerating this is a nice step in the right direction. This morning she had eaten and drank so little that I gave her a tube feeding, with 23 mL of rescue formula. She seemed to perk up a bit after that.

A real concern was perhaps an ostrich could not be restrained and would be too stressed to be able to be helped in this manner. It is a relief that she has calmed down, enough to start eating and drinking and resting properly. Now that she is relatively calm and not trying to escape, I modified a puppy harness that has a plastic chest plate, that way she has good air circulation around her, and won’t feel so restricted. (I consider it a good sign, that for the first time ever, Rascal pecked at me with her beak when I was putting on the puppy harness. Of course it didn’t hurt or anything, but I got the message. She didn’t like any of this.)

The question was how much weight goes on her legs, and how much rests on the breastplate? The answer is: Who knows? So I went to about 50-50, where it seemed about right and comfortable for her. I put some padding on the side of the box.

She still has other issues. There’s some problem with her right hip, her hips don’t sit square and parallel to her spine. But that will just have to be worked out later, for now this is the best that we can come up with. Her right knee, (which is above the brace, you are thinking of the ankle) has an issue. Also we do not know how long she needs to remain in this splint. The current plan is to go one week and see how it is. Replace it and see if it looks like she is going straight. Maybe by that time will find some data from some other larger birds. At this time there is simply no data available.

Popcorn has been an amazing source of comfort for Rascal. I’m sure seeing her walking around and pecking, was great.

In case this information will be helpful for someone else with another species, the variables are

How much weight to put on the legs versus the harness on the body
It’s about 50/50 now
How long to keep the splint on
Will probably change in one week and assess it then
What the rehab is going to be like after confinement, can she regain her joint flexibility and strength
We will start the rehab and therapy and monitor the results
If an ostrich can relax enough to eat and drink and stay healthy while confined
It took a lot longer than parrots, at least 12 hours before she was calm enough to eat or drink, at 24 hours she was pretty calm.

Thanks to everyone who has tried to give me advice, I appreciated all, and I know it was all well-meaning. Realistically, the only worthwhile advice would be if somebody says they have had this situation before, and this is what they did and what happened. (Unfortunately I never got this.) The vet we have, who has been monitoring this, is great and selfless, and has a good knowledge of birds and a sense of what seems right. Also she has the courage to try something with no guarantee of success. I admire her.

An ethical issue for me is whether it was fair to Rascal to have her go through all of this discomfort, which may be futile, in the hopes of saving her life. I hope I’m not being selfish by forcing her to go through this treatment program. What influenced my decision was concern for Popcorn, who would be lost without her sister. I also remembered a personal experience of someone who ensured a painful back surgery that required rehab, and when it was finally over they said it was worth it and they wish they did it sooner. They put the rough patch behind them. When I watched Rascal struggling to break free, I felt awful. I hope the decision to do this to her proves worthwhile.

November 3, 2013
Day 22

Rascal’s right leg became worse. Her leg was deviating out more and more, and finally it was dragging behind her, with the joint going the wrong direction. Also the limp was worse.

The avian specialist did meet me at the hospital on Sunday afternoon. We discussed the options. Her experience with this sort of leg deformity was with parrots, and there isn’t any experience available on trying this procedure on an ostrich. This is new territory. She felt one option was euthanasia. I considered that, since more extensive splinting would be very difficult to tolerate for this ostrich. But I had to think about her sister Popcorn, who is so attached to her. We went ahead and did the more extensive splinting that would immobilize the bird.

Rascal cannot walk or move about. She is in a box, with her legs splinted/ casted. With parrots, they usually stay at the veterinarian’s office so that they can monitor them and tube feed them if necessary. But there’s no one at the veterinarian’s office at night.

I brought Rascal home and will keep an eye on her. She will need to be in the splint for maybe one or two weeks. Since this has not been done before we don’t know.

So far it’s not going very well. She’s very uncomfortable and struggles. After she’s exhausted from struggling she just rests. She is not taking food or water. Her sister Popcorn is upset, although they are in clear view of each other, they can’t really contact each other by touch.

I am keeping them indoors. I am not putting the cam on them right now, they are convalescing. Hopefully they will be better in the morning.

November 1, 2013
Day 20

Popcorn 1280 g,
Rascal 1662 g

I brought them in last night, I removed the brace because there was some foot swelling on Rascal, and for some reason in the evening she was breathing rapidly about 50 breaths per minute. It was a noisy Halloween night, in our area there are block parties, crowds of kids, and people sit in the front yards to greet the trick-or-treaters. The parents carry a cup (and some beverages are often offered to them as well.) There are dogs that bark, and open doors with parties inside with refreshments offered. Occasional firecrackers in the distance. These are unusual sounds, and may have led to her distress last night.

Also I have not finished raccoon- proofing the enclosure. Even though I’ve had chickens for a couple of years, with less security than this, because of the overall concern I’m going to beef up predator security.

Inside the house where it is very quiet, they calm down, I took pictures to show them resting. They’re sleeping so soundly Rascal was dreaming, I think I detected REM. her “lips” are moving and she was bobbing her head up and down. (SOD means something to her!)

I like the idea of Rascal sleeping with her leg folded underneath her during the night. I think my strategy for now (that I will confirm with the vet) is for her to wear the brace during the daytime, it seems that she walks better with it on, and then remove it at night so she can sleep with her leg in the correct folded position. I’m not sure what caused the foot swelling, the brace itself seems to be the correct smugness. The swelling was mild, but I am being cautious.

I have to go out of town, so I am going to move them indoors today at about noon, and they will remain there through Sunday Morning. They will spend Saturday indoors, and with no brace since I won’t be there to monitor the swelling. I will up the cam indoors. I made another indoor box.

The raccoon trap was set last night, but it was empty today. It’s off to the right of the cage. Since I won’t be around I will close it.

Day 19 Oct 31, 2013

Video of raccoon reaching into ostrich cage. Reaching WAY in Around 4:30 AM Close call.


I am obtaining a trap shortly. Will take the raccoons to the park, which is 3 houses away, but hopefully they learn to stay away after the experience. The raccoons like to go into the neighbor's doggy door and eat dog food.

They broke into the Ostrich feed bag outside the cage. I will need to move that indoors.

Thanks goodness Rascal is nimble in her brace. She is doing fine with the brace, after I loosened the brace last night and applied cast padding the small amount of swelling went down.

And thank you for alerting me to this, I must have fallen asleep.

Day 18, October 30, 2013
Rascal gets a brace

The trip to the vet's office went well, my Mom sat in the back seat and made sure they were comfortable. Once they gave up standing with the car moving, and sat down, they were very calm.

At the vets we watched them walk, and then the vet took x-rays of her legs. (They were supposed to email me x-rays, the anterior view is much more dramatic to show the bent bone, I took a photograph of the screen of the lateral view that is here.. As soon as I get the x-rays I will post them for you.)

The vet determined that using half-inch pipe insulation foam would be the best material for a brace. Velcro to secure it. I left the ostriches at the vet's office, and during the day they tried several different types of braces. The main issue was whether Rascal would tolerate it. At first they made a brace that also tied in with the left foot. This is so she would tuck it underneath her when she sat. But she just flopped forward, and could not move, as if she was hogtied. Popcorn tried to peck the brace off to help her.

They did a lot of other braces, but she was unable to stand or walk with them.

So this brace that she has on now is a compromise. It will be used to help her get used to having something on her leg. I will take her back in a few days and we may try something different. If we can think of anything better. She is able to stand and walk with this brace. Gradual improvement is what we are looking for. She seems comfortable and she eats while wearing this brace. Remember the expression "The enemy of Good is Better."

They did eat very well at the vet's office. Not only did they finish the food that I brought in, but they nearly finished the 1 pound bag of organic feed. They also got to meet a variety of animals, feral cats and inquisitive dogs, and there was a large tortoise that was boarding in the cage next to them.

I need to check her foot for swelling. I also need to remove it and clean it periodically, especially if it gets wet or soiled.

Day 18 October 30 2103 Brief note
Rascal and Popcorn are still at the vets. My mom sat with them in the back of the car, and they were calm and sat down after a few minutes. After discussing the leg situation with the vet, I went shopping for different materials to make the splints, and then left them at their office. The ostrich chicks are happy and in a large cage eating and drinking voraciously. The vet will try different splints to see which one works best. I will pick them up tonight. Will post pictures and x-rays tonight on facebook later tonight.

The temperature tonight is projected to be 49 degrees. After dusk the chicks went to the front of the cage and sound distressed. I do not know if it's because of the dark, or if they are not sure about sleeping in the outdoor enclosure (they have not spent the night there yet) or they noticed I went inside. Or the night sounds may have changed. They don't seem to mind being indoors when its night and no one is around. Outside at night they get nervous.

Indoors they are fine in the smaller night box. They eat and drink like crazy. (They have no other hobbies besides pecking and eating. Their job resume would be very limited. )

They love chopped lettuce, Rascal is about 15 inches tall, and they cozy together so they don't need a big box at night.

Day 17
October 29, 2013

Popcorn 1070 grams
Rascal 1410 grams

They were quite cozy indoors last night, plenty of food and water. They were restless by 5 AM, put them back in the enclosure around 9 AM

There is a yardstick in the box to follow their heights, hard to see the numbers.

It’s in 6tthe low 50’s at night, next few days it’s in the 60s during the day. I put the water in the heated area, and the food easier to get to so they won’t be so exposed to cold if they go out.. Its about 84 degrees in the box, the heated mat is set to 90 degrees.

Tomorrow morning is the vet appointment for Rascal’s leg. (If they get used to it and like it I will take them out more often, maybe to parks and museums

Monday Night update
I took them in around 6:30 PM. It was getting cooler, and they stopped looking comfortable and came to the edge of the enclosure and started making sounds. I had checked the temperatures and they were in the 70s in the box, they should be warmer. Their backs were in the 80' usually they are in the 90's. Its about 10 degrees too cold outside for the set up I have now.

So now they're in a nice warm box with a no skid mat inside.

A heat lamp, food and water, and thou.

Familiar noises, and I can look in on them more often.

They will be back in the morning.

Day 16 October 28, 2013

New enclosure yesterday: They spent yesterday in the outside enclosure, and did very well. They are adjusting to the dirt, and the new location of the food and water. They ate so many small stones I was worried, but they seem to be fine. They seem to like the dirt.
Kept them warm and cozy last night: Last night they looked fine in the heated box home, but with an abundance of caution I moved them indoors for the night. I am glad I did, it was 20 degrees warmer in the house, and they could roam around the old box whenever they wanted to get food and water and exercise. Outdoor they would have gotten chilled wandering around for food. Also they could rest easily as they may be a little anxious sleeping in a new house for the first night. The outdoor noises are different than the indoor noises. Tonight I may leave them out for a few more night hours, maybe 9:30 PM or so, and then take them in again.
I was hoping to get a few months out of this enclosure, the rancher thinks I will get a few weeks.
It’s cold now for small chicks: Right now in Southern California near the coast the night the temperature is in the 50s, during the day it is in the 60s. It was a little cold and windy today, so I put up the tarp to protect them a bit during the day. I have 4 temperature sensors in the heated house, and it has the two heat lamps and the heated pad under the no slip mat.
This would be very late in the season for wild ostrich; they definitely have a season and do not have chicks in the fall or wintertime. They want the chicks to grow out in the spring and summer. So there is a lot of attention and concern now about the temperature. The kind and knowledgeable rancher does not raise chicks this time of year.
The rancher also recommends covering up the window, he says that the chicks are comforted being in a dark secluded spot. Even though it is not that dark with the red light, having it blocked off will make them feel more secure (he thinks.).
Rascal’s leg: I have a veterinarian appointment on Wednesday at 8 AM; the avian vet will try to devise some sort a splint with a hinge for Rascal’s right leg. I will be taking Popcorn along for comfort, these chicks are very close and it will be additional stress on them if I separate them.
A lot of questions, so here is something from Wikipedia:
Rascal’s problem is mostly in the tarsometatrsus.
The tarsometatarsus is a bone that is only found in the lower leg of birds and certain non-avian dinosaurs.
It is formed from the fusion of several bones found in other types of animals, and homologous to the mammalian tarsal (ankle) and metatarsal (foot) bones. Despite this, the tarsometatarsus of birds is often referred to as just the tarsus or metatarsus.

I hope she tolerates whatever brace is devised.

Day 15 October 27, 2013
Moved to the outside enclosure

I’m not sure if they can tolerate this at night, we will monitor their temperatures and see.
They ate a bunch of stones but they seem okay.
They have not found the water or the food yet

Update on Rascals right leg: Right now I do not have a good solution. And it appears to be worsening.

The avian veterinarian considered the modified Robert Jones bandage, to be changed every few days. When she considered it though, she thought that correction at this point would be too stressful for the bird, immobilization will weaken the leg further. She was thinking some sort of physical therapy may help. I may try to suspend her in a harness so she doesn’t put her full weight on the leg and let her walk. (I have not heard back from the Dynasplint people to see if they would fashion something for her.). The avian vet cannot come out until Wednesday.

The box on the left has a heated mat and the heat lamp, and a Plexiglas window.
The box on the right has the food bowls and alfalfa.
I put a box under the water dispenser to keep mud/ splash down.

Anyway I hope to come up with a viable plan soon for Rascal’s leg, as she grows it will be harder to correct.

Day 14
October 26, 2013
Rascal 1380 g
Popcorn 1020 g
Good news! They are gaining weight, and they made it to two weeks.

Feed: Yesterday the kind and knowledgeable rancher left me some alfalfa, and Ratite Breeder Feed pellets. I’m shaking the leaves off the alfalfa so they don’t get the stems.
I did not know they made a feed specifically for emus and ostriches (Ratites), but they do. I’m going to continue to use the chick feed now, and gradually introduce the Ratite feed.

Rascal’s right leg: On close observation it does not appear to be spraddle foot. Her hip is fine, and in fact her knees are close together. She has a twisting of the lower leg. Bringing the ankles together won’t help. I need to make a specific brace for her right leg that will twist and bend the lower leg and gradually straighten it out. This is relatively uncharted territory, so I’m working with a couple of knowledgeable people to see what we come up with. There is a splint used for finger rehabilitation called Dynasplint, we may use some variation of that.

Outside enclosure: it’s ready now, tomorrow when it gets warm I’m going to put them out for several hours. I put them in there today for about 10 minutes, and they just kept pecking the dirt and I have no idea how much dirt and stones they ate. I spent hours going to the dirt with my hands to take out as many stones as I could, but they’re pretty good at finding them. The idea that the kind and knowledgeable rancher has is that they’re going to end up on dirt, and the sooner they get used to it, the less likely they will be to be overly curious and packet later on. The differences will be

It’s a mesh cage that will have full visibility of the outdoors. (It’s actually a dog kennel)
It has 2 inches of garden dirt as the substrate.
The box that is there house has a Plexiglas window, and I put in a heated mat on the floor. They will also have a heating lamp inside. They should be warm enough.

I arranged it such that a web cam will work, and I will be able to see Rascal and Popcorn most of the time, including when they’re in their warm house. When they need more room I have some rolls of mesh wire fencing that I will used to temporarily all off certain sections of the yard (while I am supervising them).

=Day 13
October 25, 2013
Rascal's right leg was born slightly deformed (twisted) and with a mild case of Spraddle Leg. There is some tape between her legs binding them together to keep her from having the right leg go out too far. Right now it is loose and she can walk and run. As she gets used to it I will shorten the tape to bring her legs closer. (The first time I braced her legs together had it too close, and she would trip and could not walk.) I do not believe this is a painful condition. Other than a possible imp she should develop fine.
Changes in box: the nonskid matting (used to put under rugs) is in place. There are some absorbent sheets underneath that. That will help them from slipping when they walk.
The 2 heat lamps were raised about 4 inches. The ostriches did not used to be able to reach the lamps before, but now they can.
Window: The box walls are 18 inches high, so they always could look out the top, They watch us all the time. With the window they can see us further away with the cut out on the side of the box.
Outside enclosure: I thought by now they would be spending more time outside. It is supposed to be warmer this weekend, but I do not want them to get cold or eat something off the ground that they should not have. I am working on a little warm house for them, like a heated doghouse. Advice from the friendly kind and knowledgeable rancher is to use plain garden dirt in the outside enclosure.

Day 12

October 24, 2013

Rascal 1120 g, Popcorn 910 g. Good quick growth

The constipation issue seems to have resolved with great aplomb.

The painters' cloth is still too slippery. Also it does not absorb very well. I will replace with some other nonskid material tomorrow. In the meantime I put a bath towel there for friction so they can get up on their legs easier from a sitting position.

Rascal has a slight spraddle leg on the right. This has been improving since birth, we'll see how it goes.

I took them outside for a few minutes today, this time let them walk on the grass. The outdoor enclosure I have is nearly ready for them.

The outside enclosure is going use clean, new, still in bags, playground sand that I got from the "giant hardware store." The sand is clean, run through a screen and filtered. I like the idea of using this as water will go right through it. It will make clean up after the ostriches much easier. The kind and knowledgeable ranchers suggests using dirt.
Day 11
October 23, 2013

Legs slipping from under them: A no friction mat was placed under the heat lamp so they would not slip and struggle to get up. (the bottom side of the beloved Sunflower mat)

Digestive system: They did gain weight this morning. This afternoon they lost weight.They only seem to drink from one watering bowl, which gets emptied rapidly, and they ignore the other 3 water containers.

Constipation issue: Almost no poop today, they may be constipated. They are walking gingerly, not looking like they want to burst out of the box with vigor.

Alfalfa: The kind and knowledgeable rancher suggested alfalfa buds from a bale, but all I could get at the local pet store this evening was Timothy rabbit pellets. They seemed to like that just fine.

Afternoon constitutional. He suggested letting them go walk outside in the sun. It is 65 degrees, and they got cold in 5 minutes, so when they started shivering I brought them back in. But they were curious, unafraid, pecked at everything.

Hopefully the stimulation of the outside walk and the pseudo alfalfa pellets will get things moving.

Cool weather: This is very late to raise ostrich chicks. They need to be outside. Will try something soon so they can be warm and outside for a while.

Day 10
October 22, 2013

They are both growing!
Rascal is booming at 1030 grams
Popcorn is 816 grams

Food granules scattered: I scatter the food granules all over the floor and that keeps them busy pecking, and soothes them. When the grain only at the food dish they pecked at spots on the paper, and pecked each other more. Also they get more food this way for the energy they use learning to peck. Unfortunately they also act like ball bearings and they do slip on that. I plant to use something less slippery like a painter’s drop cloth soon.

Urination: The reason you can see the ostriches urinate is that unlike most birds, the ostrich does separate urine and stool, and have a pseudo urinary bladder. I was surprised when I saw that too.

Grit: I sterilized some grit (small stones) by heating in the oven. I want to take them to the outside enclosure, but it’s a bit cold for their age. They will have to stay off the grass and dirt because they will peck at everything and may eat who knows what.

Tube feeding: I do not know if earlier intervention with tube feedings would have saved Skippy. It can be helpful for many birds, but according to the kind and knowledgeable rancher, some ostrich chicks (a lot actually) just don’t thrive no matter what you do. He does not feel I waited too long for her to just turn around on her own. I did decide to have her examined by the state lab.

Family time: Rascal and Popcorn do not react to us coming in, eating and talking. They ignore the TV in the other room. Loud noises like chairs moving startle them. It’s like we are two different zoo animals in adjacent enclosures. I have not started to handle them yet.

Your kindness for Skippy is appreciated: We enjoyed all the kind words and the astonishing number of candles and messages. If you raise livestock you expect losses. But for us this is like raising family pets, a loss is nearly unbearable. These have gentle souls and are part of our family.

Day 9 at 5:00 AM
October 21, 2013

Skippy passed away at 4:45 today.
She had her second tube feeding at 2 AM. She was weaker and less responsive, but took the feeding. She was asleep and her siblings were next to her.

Special report
Day 8
October 20, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Skippy was not thriving, she was not eating or drinking, and was lethargic. This afternoon I tried:

Putting drops of water on her beak with an eye dropper
Putting bowls of food in the heat lamp area (which I expanded by getting a second heat lamp) so she would not have to move to get food and water.
Putting food granules on the floor around her
Putting minced lettuce around her

She did not really respond, and so I contacted the avian veterinarian specialist (who I have been updating on these chicks) and she made an emergency night call. (I turned off the camera while she was here).

After assessing Skippy, she decided that tube feedings with recovery fluids were in order, and started her on flagyl antibiotic. She taught me how to do the tube feedings and loaned me her steel feeding tube and other supplies.

I will be doing tube feeding 5 times a day until Skippy is eating and drinking vigorously on her own. I will continue the antibiotics for 7 to 14 days.

Hopefully she will rally and start going strong again. (And I do not know the gender of any of these chicks, I just call them "She")
= - =
A talented artist and dear friend provided this sketch to help identify Popcorn, Rascal and Skippy. I did not draw this sketch, my "wanted poster" is very crude and I did not post that.


Day 7 All is OK
October 19, 2013

The weights are steady this morning compared to yesterday morning. A few more days and they will be "safe." I am cautiously optimistic. I am heartened that they are all on the same footing, with no particular problems.

I drew a sketch of their heads and necks with the most obvious markings in order to tell them apart, It looks like "wanted" posters on the outside of the box. Its harder to just use their feet to identify individuals since the feet are getting to look similar now .It is very difficult to tell them apart when they are moving! Parents of triplets must have similar issues.

I have not gotten a sense of different personalities yet. One looks active and pecking and chasing, and later they are getting pecked and chased. One is friendly one time, and later that one trots away and another one comes up to me. They seem equal.

They are now in the dining area of the kitchen, They are comical. We are like the furniture to them, they don't even react when we sit down, talk and eat. They do startle to loud noises.

Day 6 at 7:30 AM
Weight Gain!
Weights day 2,4,6 (3:30 AM)
NOW at 7:30 AM 4 hours later, with lettuce, multiple water cups:

Skippy 782, 740, 626 NOW 674 (7:30 AM)
Popcorn 942, 856, 806 NOW 804 (no loss)
Rascal 734, 700, 674 NOW 704

They are back to day 4 weights! I am sure Popcorn will come around.
They are spunky now
Much relief here. They were moved at 8:00 AM to a larger area, they look small now.

Day 6 3:30 AM
October 18, 2013

Weight changes on day 2,4,6

Skippy 782, 740, 626
Popcorn 942, 856, 806
Rascal 734, 700, 674

I am hoping to see them take more water,
On day 7 they should start to gain weight.
Extra cups are for them to check out of curiosity, play with the bowls, get feet wet and experience water.
I put some lettuce in the water bowls so they will peck at it and get used to drinking
The feather picking is not anything to worry about now.
Must move to larger space today or tomorrow.

October 16, 2013
Day 4

Skippy 740 grams (782 two days ago)
Popcorn 856 grams (942 two days ago)
Rascal 700 grams (734 two days ago)

They lost a little weight from 2 days ago, which is expected as they had excess water.
They are still using nutrients from the yolk sac in their abdomens and still have plenty of fluid.
The abdomens are soft and the umbilici all are fine, no sign of infection.
Popcorn’s legs still are a little swollen, but she is walking fine and I expect it to resolve.
The black horizontal line above the back bowl is the 12 inch line. When they stand up against the back wall you can see they are 12 inches tall.
They are all active and alert. They behave the same, no one seems weaker or behind in development.
They seem very content and comfortable. They startle easily with loud noise or sudden movement. These are very social animals.

I began introducing water yesterday morning with added vitamins and minerals.
Used a shiny spoon to encourage them to peck at the water
After they all seemed to be able to drink yesterday, I put food granules in the bowl.
Interestingly they peck at the granules that fell on the ground, but don’t use the bowl.
Rascal was really going for the food last night.

Sound – These ostrich chicks are very calm and quiet, they hardly make any noise, an occasional peep. You are not missing much with the sound off.

It’s easy to spot Popcorn, slightly larger, black ring on right side of face, swollen feet.
Rascal is harder, smaller, has some minimal feet swelling, I have not been able to tell her face from Skippy yet.

I prefer to not band them or mark them, trying to find out facial features to distinguish them. If facial recognition software would work that would be great 

In a day or two they will need a larger enclosure so they can exercise more, for another week they need the heat lamp nearby.

October 14, 20013
5:00 AM
Day 2 of Popcorn, Skippy and Rascal

So far they are OK. They are all resting. They all have extra fluid that is being exhaled.They are all alert when stimulated and have good vision and hearing.

Rascal is still the coolest temperature wise, and she is breathing faster than the other 2.. She was also not as developed at birth, but hopefully enough to catch up outside the egg.

Popcorn is a curiosity, no one is sure what happens to development in an egg that was not perfectly round.

I will be watching their abdomens and their legs. I will base feeding and water on that.
The hatcher is tuned now so the middle should be the best temperature for them, but they are supposed to move to the optimum spot themselves.

The goal is to have them succeed to 2 weeks, by then most of the dangers have passed. Chicks that just can't make it go by then.
= - = -
October 13, 2013 5:00 PM
She internally pipped 28 hours ago, and after vigorous scratching and pecking, she just did not continue. I did not hear sounds this afternoon,although she was warm, but her temperature was falling a bit. There was still no crack in the shell, so I decided to open the air cell to give her more air.

At first I saw an intact air sac membrane with one crack, but then I heard one single "Peep" and I was relieved.

So I put her back in the hatcher, and will watch her to see if she now is able to get out since she has air.

i took Rascal to the garage and used a drill to make a tiny hole, and then broke the top open. I did this away from the kids since I was afraid of what I would find.

On a ranch they accept losses, but I do not want to lose anyone.

October 13, 2013
Day 43
Why assisted hatching is required for Goofy
She is at high risk.

I contacted experts regarding the odd shape of Goofy's egg and her lack of progress compared to Miss Perfect, who both pipped at the same time

The problem is that Goofy's egg is not round, it is flattened, and thus she cannot rotate inside like a normal chick in the egg, so her beak cannot go to new places in the shell. I do not see how she could rotate in the egg. And for the past 20 hours she has pecked at the same spot. I believe she is stuck.

In the commercial ranching world, they would not have even attempted to hatch a malformed egg.The rancher I got her from did not realize her odd shape when he gave her to me.

The largest egg, "Goofy" is flat. 1430 grams 8-31-2013. Measurements are 4 7/8 wide and 4" the other way wide, and 6" tall.. This makes her narrower than the smallest egg I got.

(The smallest egg was 4.25" wide, but even. 1190 grams 8-31-2013 - Miss Perfect)

Anyway I am going ahead with this since this is a high risk egg and hatch for Goofy.

October 12, 2013 Update
8:00 AM

Yesterday the egg on the far right, # 28, nicknamed for now “Miss Perfect” began to show internal movement. She pipped into the air cell (internal pipping), and you could see her head moving during candling. I do not like to candle for long because the light is so bright for her eyes. I oriented the egg so the head is facing the camera, so a crack (external pip) would be facing your view, about 1/3 the way down from the top of the egg.

I placed a microphone that is leaning on the egg, with the gain all the way up. Because of the fan in the hatcher there is a background hum. But you can hear occasional scratching, pecking and even a chirp, chortle or kick.

The other two eggs have not shown movement in the air cell, so they are a day behind. They are warm/ generating heat, so it’s OK, they are just behind schedule, which is very typical for eggs. It’s not as predictable as the weather 

If you have sound problems, suggestions include clearing your browser cache and reloading the page.
= - =
September 6, 2013 Update.
3 Ostrich Eggs, Due Saturday October 12, 2013

Pip passed away after one week of wonderful life on August 25, 2013 from complications of intestinal infection and retained yolk sac. Of course we were all devastated.

As part of our healing process, our family went a road trip to an ostrich ranch in central California. The rancher was incredibly nice, plainspoken, and spent a couple of hours with us, showing us around and explaining his way of raising these birds.

Although he does not sell fertile eggs to the public to be hatched, he was very understanding of our family’s loss, and gave us three eggs. He was reluctant to do this for us because he had some doubts about their viability, especially since it was the end of the season for laying and those eggs don’t usually do so well, and these were a bit small and one was misshapen. I said I would give it my best try.We went with three eggs because ostriches do better in groups, they are very social.

I showed him my new incubator that I built, (version 1.2 since I threw the original one away.) Basically a cardboard box, with a clothing rod with a sink basket bolted onto it so I did not have to open the box to turn the eggs. A heat lamp and a thermostat. He said he’s never seen anything like it, and thought it should work fine even though it was obviously rigged together from available parts around the house.

The countdown to 42 days begins when you put the eggs in the incubator, which I did on August 31, 2013 at 9 PM. This gives us an estimated hatched date of October 12, 2013.

My hope is that I could continue my journey, to watch ostrich chicks hatch and raise them until they were too big to be manageable at our home. I would have some nice places for them to go if we could no longer keep them. My top choice is the LA zoo since at this time they only have one ostrich, an older male with arthritis.

So I took some initial candling pictures, and tonight I took pictures of the candling for day four, and already I see progress. Unfortunately I still can’t determine which side has the air sac, so they will stay on their sides until they develop enough to show their air sac. If we get a Facebook page together for this new ostrich project, I will post the pictures and updates.

I found that taking the trip to the ostrich farm, building a new incubator, and getting to know these three new eggs has helped me feel better. It also eased my conscience when the experienced rancher advised me that I did not do anything wrong while raising Pip.

Born: 8:42am on August 18, 2013

Currently weighs 1.110 kilograms (2.447 pounds)
Height: 11 inches tall

Pip is very healthy and doing great.
She (and by 'she' I mean I don't know the gender) is beginning to drink water, the spoon in the water is shiny and attracts her attention.

Ostrich chicks need to be taught to drink water. At first we used a spoon (syringes are hazardous in a chick, too much water and she need to learn how to drink). She will begin eating chick starter in a day or two.

She stays warm with the red glow from a heat lamp, the temperature is 90 degrees on the left and 93 degrees on the right with the teddy bear. She does have two toes, the smaller toe is pressed up against her main toe and does not separate much yet. She really responds when we walk in and runs to the side of the box to see us and get some attention. We will stop using gloves soon, when she matures enough to eat regular food we will probably stop.

She appreciates being held and talked to. Its hard for me to leave her.


cute pip 2


Frequently Asked Questions:

So why are you doing this Ostrich egg thing anyway?
- Who WOULDN'T want to do this? I am sure the kids are getting something out of it. I am curious how we will get along with the ostrich if we are lucky enough to have it hatch.

And now the egg NEEDS us. We saw the embryo developing, without a microscope. And the adventure is continuing.

What am I going to do with an ostrich chick?

- We have chickens, so are used to birds, I am hoping that I will be able to tell a story of an amazingly friendly Ostrich who made a wonderful pet. Raised by hand most animals are tame. (But if you went in the woods to get a feral dog that would probably make a bad pet. I think bad ostrich stories are from farm or wild ostrich, not pets)

I checked with California Fish and Game, no special permit or license needed. Also in 1995 California legislature classified ostrich as Poultry (not exotic animal) so for local zoning you are really governed by nuisance laws. Hopefully it won’t make loud or bothersome noises. If she becomes menacing I have some outlets who will take her, possibly at the local zoo and if not a free range ranch in New Mexico.


ostrich pic use


Fun facts about Ostrich eggs

Ostrich eggs are the largest of all eggs, the yolk is the largest single cell that exists today on our planet. Ironically,ostrich eggs are actually the smallest egg relative to the size of the bird (1% of the weight of the ostrich hen).

Eggs are incubated by the females by day and the males by night. This uses the coloration of the two sexes to escape detection of the nest, as the drab female blends in with the sand, while the black male is almost undetectable at night. The incubation period is 35 - 45 days.


How BIG is an ostrich egg?
For comparison, the smallest bird egg is the hummingbird's, who could fit 4700 eggs into one ostrich egg.
1 ostrich egg is equivalent to about 2 dozen chicken eggs.
1 ostrich egg contains about 2,000 calories
1 ostrich egg would take you about 40 minutes to hard boil.

Fact! Ostrich eggs can weigh 3-5 pounds each. And yes, hens will lay as often as every other day until they lay a clutch.

The female ostrich, aka the hen, can lay 40-100 eggs per year, which roughly amounts to one egg every second day from the mid-March till the mid-August. (In favorable conditions, the female can remain productive for 25-35 years.)

Ostriches are known to lay their eggs in a communal pit, with the dominant female laying her eggs first and others following her. After laying her eggs, the dominant female rejects the eggs of some of the weaker members at the time of covering the pit. Even though 2-7 females