Do Ostriches Live In Zoos?

The ostrich lives in the zoo as many zoos support ostrich conservation programs. More than 1,200 ostriches reside in zoos in different parts of the world. 

Many zoos run programs to establish self-sustaining and secure populations of ostriches in their own country. Ostriches are included in exhibits with other animals like herbivores in many zoological institutions.

The zoos also run “adopt an ostrich” programs to get help from people in providing special diets, veterinary checkups, and habitat elements to the ostriches. 

Ostriches living in zoos are found to be more healthy. They even live up to 50 years or more. People visiting zoos show great interest in ostriches and some even donate funds for them.

Where do ostriches live naturally?

The ostrich lives in arid, dry, and sandy regions of an open country. The common habitats are savannas, deserts, plains, woodlands, scrubs, and dry grasslands. These flightless birds can manage to survive in environments that lack trees completely. 

These birds were native to Africa – both the southern and eastern parts of the country. Ostriches roamed all over Asia, the Arabian peninsula, and Africa, but their range has presently been reduced to the savannas and the Sahel of Africa. This occurred due to their extensive hunting.

Ostriches live in areas that are not so far from water bodies which they use for bathing and swimming in the dry season. Large groups of ostriches congregate at these water sources.

What do ostriches eat in captivity?

Ostriches, living in captivity, eat diets rich in components like commercial pellets, grains, hay, alfalfa, vegetables, and fruits. The diet fed to captive ostriches is based primarily on commercial feed, specially designed for them.

The commercial feeds consist of a formulated ratio of proteins, vitamins, and minerals necessary for the proper growth and development of ostriches. 

Most ostrich farmers and zoos feed ostriches with diets that contain crude protein. However, its percentage depends on the age of the ostrich. The feeds are available in mature, grower, and starter formulas.

Fruits and vegetables, including corn, carrots, beets, and other grains, are given in less than 20% of the ostrich’s diet. In captivity, ostriches are provided with one to two gallons of water each day.

Ostriches in the wild feed on different things, but ostriches in captivity feed on completely different diets. The ostriches can eat the following food sources:

  • Seeds
  • Fruits 
  • Shrubs
  • Shoots
  • Dry foliage
  • Gourds
  • Roots
  • Frogs
  • Tortoises
  • Lizards
  • Bugs 

Related Read: What Not To Feed Wild Birds? ( Harmful Foods For Wild Birds )

Related Read: Do Ostriches Eat Stones, Pebbles, And Rocks?

Are ostriches hard to raise?

Ostriches are not hard but quite easy to raise as they require little maintenance. Ostrich farming is becoming a lucrative business because it is highly profitable and requires very little input.

The ostriches are highly adaptable which makes them easier to raise. Their abilities like surviving in harsh conditions without water make them appropriate birds to raise in hot and dry regions. 

These birds are excellent predators, thus farmers do not need to take many preventive measures to safeguard them. 

The ostrich products like meat, feathers, skin, and eggs are all extremely valuable. These birds are loving, therefore, raising ostriches is not considered hard but worthy.

How much land does an ostrich need?

To set an ostrich farm, you may require land of one to two acres for their running and good health. However, a young ostrich may need an area of 25 square feet to live. A trio of adult ostriches may need an area of 1500 square meters approximately

If raising, chicks need to be housed, at least at night. Shades in the form of trees or man-made are important for these birds of all ages. The ostriches in captivity are mostly given appropriate areas to live healthy lives.

They can be reared on barren land or in a small shelter that will protect them in harsh climatic conditions. Fencing the area would keep them within the region and prevent escape.

Ostriches are huge birds and thus, the area should be enough to give them appropriate space for moving, running, and doing different activities.


Ostriches have reduced in numbers and thus, require conservation. Zoos are playing an important role in providing these birds a secure place to live. These birds are so adjustable that they survive even in difficult conditions. They can eat anything they get whether it’s seeds or insects. The Ostrich farmers gain quite a great profit raising them.

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