Some Causes of Poor Performance and Chick Mortality in Farmed Ostriches in Alabama (USA) and Kenya

  • P W Kanyari
  • T A Ngatia
  • P M Mathiu
  • A Oyejide
  • K K Srivastave


Commercial ostrich farming is rapidly becoming a desirable alternative source of profitable meat production among smallholder farmers. However, ostrich ranching, particularly, ostrich production is severely constrained by a very high chick mortality rate (up to 40 %). To help rural farmers including those in the developed countries such a s United States of America gain a successful foothold in this potentially lucrative farming enterprise, the causes of chick mortality must be identified and controlled. The present collaborative study was designed to characterize and compare disease causes of mortality in chicks in smallholder ratite farms in Macon and adjoining Counties of Alabama and some selected localities in Kenya. The study established that, in both Alabama (USA) and Kenya, ostrich farmers incur losses of considerable magnitude from a wide range of causes, some of which could not be established. Losses are experienced right from the embryonic stages whereby embryos may develop poorly causing death before hatching. In USA, hatchability was 72 % while in Kenya; hatchability was only 56 % on average. In Kenya, a high mortality rate in the early weeks of life (< 3 weeks) [27-40%] was noted. Pathogens isolated at postmortem from inflamed tissues and septic yolk sacs were mainly common bacteria [abstract truncated].

The Kenya Veterinarian Vol. 28 2005: pp. 6-10

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eISSN: 0256-5161