Do you want to start an ostrich farm? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting an ostrich farming business with NO money and NO experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample ostrich farming business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample ostrich farm marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for ostrich farms. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a ostrich farm. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start an Ostrich Farming Business?
If you have always had a dream of owning a farm and rearing livestock on this farm for commercial purposes, then perhaps you should partake in something adventurous rather than rearing regular livestock and look towards starting an ostrich farm.
Ostrich farming is a business that has several advantages because when compared to cattle, ostriches produce more meat for consumption while consuming resources that are smaller in comparison to what a beef cattle consumes. Also, the meat of an ostrich contains less fat, cholesterol as well as calories when compared to chicken, beef, lamb, pork and turkey, making it a win-win situation for any farmer going into this business.
Ostriches have been consumed by humans as far back as the third century and it enables farmers make faster and higher lucrative returns on investment, which has caused a large number of farmers to convert to ostrich farming.
Before starting the ostrich farming business, you would have to make a decision on the land you intend to use and how you will make use of the land. This is because the land must be large enough for all the separate activities that will be involved in your ostrich farming business. This includes activities such as breeding, chick rearing, chick housing, raising the birds to slaughter age and also incubation facilities.
Also, you would need to consider space for building facilities that would accommodate an office, farm, shop as well as a workers’ rest area. It is important that you acquire a land that would allow your breeding birds have a total of 1500sq. meters. Climate has to be considered when running an ostrich farm so that you do not allow your birds to die due to heat or cold.
In the United States of America, you would need to complete a course on ostrich husbandry and get certain licenses and permits (owning the birds, transporting the birds, being able to bury the birds, as well as bio security measures) before starting this business. If you are wondering how you would go about all this, the article promises to point you in the right direction.
Starting an Ostrich Farming Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Globally, the ostrich industry has remained volatile in certain geographical locations. This is because those starting the business newly usually experience high prices for their birds which however later crashes as the true value of a slaughter bird is realized. However, even though feed costs accounts for at least 70 percent of total expenses incurred by ostrich farmers, the business is not one however that is run at a loss.
The ostrich industry in America as well as in Europe is still in its breeding phase as there is little commercial processing taking place. As at 1992, more than 150,000 ostriches were slaughtered globally with 95% of this slaughtered amount processed in South Africa. However, present analysis gives no indication on whether the ostrich population will meet current much less future demands.
Although ostrich farming declined in the United States of America during the early periods of 1930, it slowly regained its popularity in the 1990s especially in the eastern part of the country. However, as more people have entered this industry, there has been a drop in prices as breeding supplies have become plentiful.
Even though commercial ostrich farming started in South Africa for more than 15 decades ago, other countries such as the United States of America and Israel have joined in the commercial farming as well. There are about 60,000 ostriches currently in the United States of America. According to analysts, in order to operate economically, 250,000 breeding pairs would be required to be able to meet up with demands.
According to the 2007 Agriculture Census, 714 farmers raised 11,188 ostriches but marketed about 5,697 birds. This was a marked decrease from 2002 where more than 1,600 farmers raised more than 20,000 ostriches. The three top states in ostrich production in the United States of America are Texas, California and Kansas.
Ostrich meat is promoted as low-cholesterol red meat due to its red colour, low fat content as well as its texture which is like beef. The average carcass dressing percentage stands at 57%. The feathers are usually cropped once a year and sold to several companies in the United States of America.
The last few years has seen a dramatic progression in ostrich farming as globally the ostrich farm business has achieved stability. However, many farms do not still take proper care of the young chicks as scientists have paid the birds less attention even though it has great potential.
Starting an Ostrich Farming Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic compositions of those that require the products of an ostrich range from those who intend to consume it as meat, to those who intend to use other parts of the ostrich for further non-consumable products. This therefore means that those who require the products of an ostrich cuts across various demographics from restaurants, households, research institutes, furniture manufacturers and to car manufacturers.
And so it can be seen that the demographics is all encompassing as it includes those that consume ostrich meat for health purposes, those who use it for financial purposes and for other purposes as well.
List of Niche ideas Within the Ostrich Farming Business That You Can Specialize in
Even though ostrich farming offers plenty benefits from the meat to its feathers, if you are just newly starting up, there are certain areas you might wish to concentrate on especially if you do not have the required finance to run all the niches at once.
Starting with few niches does not mean that you cannot later expand your business to offer other niches as soon as you have the necessary human and capital resources available. Therefore some of the major ostrich farming business niches that you may decide to go into are;
- Full cycle (this include breeders, egg layers, incubating, hatching, and then growing the chicks to slaughter stage)
- Incubation facility
- Growing out facility
The Level of Competition in the Ostrich Farm Industry
The ostrich farm business might be uncommon in the United States of America but it is slowly becoming a very popular business as more people have been known to start the business which has led to more competition in the industry.
Because of the health benefits of ostriches, more people are beginning to see the importance of consuming this meat and yet supply still outweighs demand which has led to the increase in competition amongst ostrich farmers as measures are being put in place by some farms to ensure that they create a website that will make them more visible to others around the country.
Also, already established ostrich farms have an advantage over new ostrich farms and this is because the large businesses already have a network of contacts and large economies of scale. The smaller ostrich farms on the other hand are able to compete by offering specialized services and better customer care than the large ostrich farms and in this way, the smaller farms are able to generate revenue for themselves.
List of Well Known Brands in the Ostrich Farming Industry
Every industry has brands that are well known either for having existed for long or for standing out from others offering same services. Also, other factors that make brands to become popular are ones that treat their customers very well, have well crafted publicity strategies and so many other such factors.
Therefore even though ostrich farming in the United States if uncommon, there are certain brands that have stood out and made a name for themselves and they are;
- Ostrichland USA
- Arizona ostrich farm
- R&M Ostrich Farm
- American Ostrich Farms
- Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch
In the United States of America, those that intend to start an ostrich farm and run it as a business must not only have the required financial capability to do so, they are also mandated to select eggs and breeding ostriches from reliable and trusted breeders, whilst also stocking the appropriate food needed for the ostriches to survive.
The ostrich rearing business though uncommon is largely growing and even though some variations exists amongst farmers as regards rearing habits and techniques, all farmers need at least healthy eggs or one healthy breeding pair of ostriches to start.
According to the North Carolina State University, ostriches are expensive and a breeding pair that is of high quality can cost $6,000. Even though purchasing a breeding pair might be deemed costly, immediate ostrich production is however ensured.
This does not however mean that farmers have to start on a high note; they can choose the less expensive options such as buying the eggs and hatching the chicks. However, with this option, the farmers would need to wait for at least 2 years in order for their ostrich to begin production. Another option is to buy juveniles that will shorten production time to one year.
Ostrich farmers must ensure that there are suitable feeds such as pellets, game meat and greens as well as fresh water. However, when the birds begin to age, natural food is also provided alongside the commercial feed. Also, every pair is allotted 1 acre, with the space enclosed by a 6-foot fence and shelter as ostriches aren’t supposed to get wet.
An ostrich produces up to 40 eggs every year which normally reach market size within 14 months and yields meat that weighs up to 1,800 kilograms. Other products that can be produced by a mature ostrich include 50 square meters of leather as well as 36 kilograms of feather in a year. A properly bred single female ostrich during her economic lifetime can produce up to 72,000 kilogram of meat, 2,000 kilograms of feathers and 2,000 square meters of leathers.
Starting Your Ostrich Farm from Scratch versus Buying a Franchise
The ostrich farm business industry is without franchise and the only options that exist are either starting from scratch or buying off an existing business to run it as your own brand.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting an Ostrich Farm
Every business faces threats and challenges either during start-up or whilst running the business; and because this is a business related to rearing and breeding livestock, one major challenge that you will face is the outbreak of disease that could wipe out your birds either due to mistakes in your breeding process or through no fault of yours.
Another threat that you are likely to face is the arrival of a competitor within your area of operation and also offering the same services that you offer. Also, you are likely going to battle with gaining customer attention regarding consuming ostrich meat as an alternative to other readily available meats. Also, stringent government regulation is likely to be a threat to your business. You should however draft plans that will allow you overcome these challenges and make your business grow and boom.
Starting an Ostrich Farming Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for an ostrich farm
When starting a business of whatever kind, it is important that a legal structure be chosen. However, deciding on what kind of legal structure to use might depend largely on what kind of business you intend to run. It should also be noted that the kind of legal entity you choose for your business will go a long way in determining how your business would likely fare in the future.
Traditionally, most farms that have gone commercial have always stuck to sole proprietorships, with more choosing cooperatives due to the value added businesses that they are offering. The cooperatives for instance, have majorly been in use for farmers who come together to start a business. The benefit of the cooperative form of legal entity for farmers for over more than 15 decades is that they have helped with decision making, education as well as profit sharing.
Recently, more farmers in adapting to the changing trends in the environment have taken a new organizational form which is referred to as the New Generation Cooperative. The New Generation Cooperative (NGC) is a type of cooperative that is being used primarily by farmers who engage in the processing of agricultural commodities. Even though most cooperatives have undergone incorporation and are referred to as corporate cooperatives, certain states have enacted laws that will see cooperatives having similar features to be changed to a limited liability company.
There are other forms of legal entity that are available to the farmers such as the C Corporation and the S Corporation. With the C Corporation, the business owner enjoys limited liability; however the stringent paperwork can make it very difficult to pull money out of the business. The S Corporation on the other hand has a more relaxing structure than the C Corporation as advances against profits are usually allowed.
One of the most popular legal entities for a farm business is the Family Limited Partnership (FLP) as it allows transfer of assets from one generation to the other. Other forms of legal entities are Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
This is why it is advisable for an entrepreneur to consult with a lawyer that has knowledge regarding the business that he or she intends going into in order to receive the best advice as to what legal entity is best for the particular farm business one intends to run. Although it is possible to upgrade on legal entities, it is usually best to start on the best footing.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for an Ostrich Farm
If you are going to choose a name that does not reflect the kind of business you run, ensure you link your business in there somehow so that your target market would have an idea. If you are considering starting your own ostrich farm business, then here are some eye catching names for you to use in growing your brand;
- Boorish Ostrich Farms
- Danes Ostriches and More Inc
- Meat and Eggs Ostrich Farms
- Ostrich chicks only Farms
- Big Joe Ostrich Farms
- Mamagee Ostriches Inc
Having insurance in the United States of America for an individual is very important and doubly so for a business organization, because the law regulating business operations requires that a business acquires certain basic insurance policies.
If you are confused on the right insurance policies for your business, you would need to approach an insurance agent or broker to help you choose the most appropriate policies for you. This would then allow you to create a budget knowing the insurance covers you intend to buy for your business.
Some of the basic insurance policies that you would need to consider getting when starting your own ostrich farm in the United States of America are;
- General Insurance
- Liability insurance
- Health Insurance
- Workers’ compensation
- Equipment insurance
- Auto insurance
- Property Insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
The ostrich farming business is not one that requires securing an intellectual property protection for as this is a business that requires breeding and slaughtering of ostrich meat and putting other related ostrich products for sale. And so this is unlike technical business where new things are produced that would require some sort of protection.
Some ostrich farmers however go as far as protecting their logos as an intellectual property. While this is not a bad idea, it is not something that you should bother yourself with. If however, you intend to intellectually protect the logo or the name of your company, then you would need to file an application to the United States Property Protection Organization (USPTO) so that the process can go on while you run your business.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run an Ostrich Farm?
Asides from having the necessary financial capacity required to start an ostrich farm, it is usually required by the United States Government agencies that anyone that intends to go into ostrich farming complete a course in ostrich husbandry.
This is because government is strict with those who engage in the ostrich farming business as it shows that not only will they be committed to the business but this will also ensure that they apply the best practices when starting and running the business. There isn’t much certification you would need to run an ostrich farm, but below are what you might need;
- Course in ostrich husbandry
- Other related certifications
This is not a business that is wholly dependent on certification but based more on experience and ensuring that the industry standard as well as best practices are strictly adhered to, as this is the best way to get the needed clients.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run an Ostrich Farm
In a place like the United States of America, it is important that certain documentations are in place so that the business can be run legally. In fact, no country on earth condones a business that does not have proper legal documents as the penalty is always very severe. Therefore, it goes without saying that this is an aspect that cannot be overlooked in any way.
Some of the basic legal documents that you would need to have in place before starting and running your own business in the United States of America are;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business Plan
- Business License and permits
- Insurance Policy
- Employment Agreement
- Contracts Document
- Operating Agreement
- Employee Identification Number (EIN)
Financing Your Ostrich Farm
Financing is such a very important part of any business for while one might have a business concept that looks good, without the financing to make the business concept become a reality, it will remain just a business idea. Deciding how much you would need to start and run your business to a successful standard is very important and this is why it is usually necessary to have written a comprehensive business plan that will help you convince any external investor or financial institution if you do not have the required funds to start your business and need to consider taking a loan.
Some of the options you would need to explore when sourcing for start-up capital for your ostrich farm business are;
- Generating your capital from personal savings and sale of stocks or properties
- Sourcing for soft loans from friends and family members
- Applying for loan from the bank
- Applying for federal or state agricultural grant
- Seeking funds from venture capitalists
- Applying to the U.S Small Business Agency (SBA) for funds
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Ostrich Farm
Choosing the right location for your ostrich farm business is very important as you cannot locate your business in a suburb or metropolitan city and so it is necessary that you either locate your farm outside the city limits, the countryside or the rural areas. You would only need to ensure that you are conspicuous and easily accessible for your customers.
The area that you must choose for your ostrich farm business must be a land that is large enough to accommodate the birds and also accommodate you and your workers. This makes it very easy to start this business as buying a land outside the city limits or in the countryside is very cheap and will also allow you to source for cheap labour as well.
Another issue that must be taken into consideration when locating your business is how many birds you intend to raise. This is because the birds need more space as they grow, as a pair of ostrich would require 1 acre as they are very large birds; and this space would need to be enclosed by a 6 foot fence and have shelter as well so that they don’t get wet. Therefore, it would be necessary when getting a realtor to ensure that the realtor understands the kind of business you are going into and will therefore give you something very appropriate.
So, if you are looking for where to start and run your ostrich farm from, ensure that it is located outside the city limits, so you don’t run afoul of the city laws, or buy a land in the rural areas and start your farm. The good thing about this business is that you would not need all those that love ostrich meat to come to you as you will be in contact with only major customers.
Starting an Ostrich Farming Business – Technical & Manpower Details
There are several ways by which farmers may choose to run their ostrich farms such as breeding of live birds which involves selling eggs, breeders or chicks. This is one process of the ostrich business that requires a bit of technicality especially when raising the chicks as several facilities need to be in place to ensure that many of the chicks do not die.
Setting up a slaughter facility can come into effect when you intend to slaughter the birds yourself and market the produce. You might need to know where the slaughter facilities are if it will be too expensive for you to set up a slaughter facility yourself.
Marketing the skin of the ostriches would require knowing how to correctly shape and store them so as to have a marketable product. You might need to get a unit where the skins will be stored in temperatures of between 4 and 10 degrees centigrade and yet they mustn’t be frozen.
As regards the number of employees you would need to start and run your business efficiently in order to have as less hitches as possible, they would be Chief Executive Officer, an Admin and Human Resource Manager, Farm Manager, Marketing Executive, Customer Service Officer/Front Desk Officer, Accountant, Cleaner and Driver.
To be able to run an ostrich farm business that is of standard and also successful, you would need at least 8 people.
The Service Delivery Process Involved in an Ostrich Farm
When starting with a breed stock, one starts with 1 male and 2 – 4 females. The female ostriches then lay up to 40 eggs throughout the year and only stops laying eggs except she needs to incubate her eggs. To enable an all year round production, eggs when produced are quickly moved to a machine incubator so as to ensure that the ostrich chicks survive well. Some of the eggs are usually infertile, some die during incubation, while others simply fail to hatch.
Due to how tall they grow – about 9 feet – and how fast they run – 70 miles per hour; ostriches usually require a lot of space. They thrive well in differing climates from deserts, forest regions, grassland to swamps. However dry climates and semi-arid areas are most favorable to ostrich production. A family of 4 birds would usually require half an acre of space for optimal results.
Ostriches survive on a variety of foods, from insects, rodents to grass. However, it is essential that they are properly fed especially if they are being bred for commercial purposes. A good feed for any commercial farm raising ostriches should consist of alfalfa, maize, dehulled soya, major and minor minerals, vitamins as well as amino acids and yeast. This feed is what makes the ostrich produce good meat in excess of 35 kilograms.
Starting an Ostrich Farming Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
While starting an ostrich farm might look very easy, turning it into something that will generate revenue and bring in profit for your business is another kettle of fish. To ensure that you are able to meet with your revenue goals and targets, it will require that you make out a plan on how you intend to market your products and services.
What you might need to do when it comes to this stage of your business is to ensure that you liaise or visit other ostrich farms in your location or far from you to garner information on how they generate the needed revenue for their business.
Due to the seriousness of marketing, you would need to conduct a market research that would help you determine just how well you know your target market and what strategies would be more effective on them. The market research will also enable you to easily know who your target market are, what they expect from you as a business and how well you are likely to penetrate the market and get a huge share for your business.
You might be required to meet with some clients personally to formally market your business to them in a bid to get a long term contract from them. If it comes to this, you must ensure that you have done a thorough assignment so that you could make them see reasons why you are better than your competitors.
Some of the platforms that you can therefore use to market and grow your ostrich farm business are;
- Ensure that your ostrich farm business is formally introduced to several big chain hotels and restaurants, grocery stores and meat marts, other ostrich farmers and any other stakeholders in the industry..
- Ensure that you place adverts in newspapers, agriculture, food and lifestyle magazines as well as on radio and television stations.
- Ensure that your ostrich farm business is listed in farmers’ guide, yellow pages as well as online directories.
- Attend livestock farmers seminars and conventions in order to remain aware of industry trends while also using the chance to market your business.
- Work with other farmers by forming a cooperative in order to be able to market your produce to the larger markets.
- Create cooking instructions as well as recipes for your ostrich meat and conduct presentations for customers.
Strategies to Boost Your Ostrich Farm Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
Boosting the awareness of your brand is a must if you intend to generate awareness about your business and also increase revenue for your company. Every entrepreneur who goes into business does so with the aim of ensuring that the business has the desired awareness that will sustain it and cause it to exist for a long time. Every business engages in boosting its brand, from new businesses to already existing businesses either big or small.
Publicity takes several ways and almost any method – conventional and unconventional – can be used. Any enterprising entrepreneur that intends for his business to remain for a long time has to invest in promotions and advertisement in order to boost the brand of the business.
While it might be a bit overwhelming to craft strategies that would effectively promote and boost your brand especially if you intend to concentrate on your farming business, then you might need to engage the services of a promotions and advertising consultant in your area who has a deep knowledge of the business you are going into and who understands the local environment as well as the national environment and its target market so that he or she will help you draft the right promotions and advertising strategies for your business.
There are several strategies that you can use and it is best you know which strategies are going to be more effective so that you could set aside a budget for it instead of engaging in a trial and error method. Below therefore are the platforms that you can leverage on in order to boost your brand while promoting and advertising your business;
- Ensure that you make use of your website as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram to increase awareness and promote your business vigorously
- Place adverts in local and national newspapers plus food and agricultural magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Distribute handbills and paste fliers in certain strategic locations all around the city
- Place and position billboards in strategic locations all around the area where your ostrich farm will be located
- Write guest articles for popular food and agricultural related blogs and websites that will educate and inform the audience and use this to generate awareness for your brand
- Ensure that you encourage your loyal customers to help you spread the word about your business