Sunday, July 23, 2006

Interview with the ZhuWei Ostrich Man

I went to ZhuWei today for a BBQ down by the DanShui River on a small farm. The owner came over with an ostrich egg.

I knew there were ostriches as a friend of mine who lives in a building at ZhuWei said he had spotted them from his window. I had also eaten an ostrich meat dish at HongLou, a restaurant on a hillside in DanShui.

It turns out the eggs are pretty strong. The guy in the picture weighs 100kg and the egg is holding up. I guess it shouldn't be surprising as my wife's father can make egg-shell china (pottery) by hand as strong as this as well.

Eventually it broke, not from even pressure but from impact on some hard tiles.

I thought maybe the owner was raising the birds for meat as a substitute for beef. I've heard this considered as an option for countries who are considering cutting down forest land to raise cattle. Basically, ostrich meat would be more environmentally friendly.

Turns out, he just raises them for the kids who visit the farm. He said that it's rare for people to buy the meat. He likes raising ostriches because it's so easy. Apparently the birds even eat their own poo if there is no food! I wonder if it changes the flavor of their meat...

One other interesting fact mentioned was that lots of ostrich eggs are lost as the birds lay them standing so they actually drop from a height. The time to mature, from the time of laying to birth of the chick, is about 45 days. Posted by Picasa
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