Sadly, the answer is no. But it’s also possible.
Yes, you can keep them, but the question that arises is why do you want an ostrich as a pet. If you want to keep it as a pet, which will roam around the house with you, and you can give it occasional pats, it is not possible.
Ostrich farming is gaining popularity these days, and it is a better option to keep them on the farm instead.
Are Ostriches Friendly And Affectionate?
NO, they are not friendly or affectionate to a human.
If you keep them since their birth, there is a possibility that they will recognize you, but at the end of the day, ostriches are shy birds who rather like to spend their time with their flock.
They are not going to show you affection like other pets such as cats, dogs, or even other small birds do.
Why Do People Have Ostriches As Pets?
The first major reason for having an ostrich as a pet is the curiosity about the bird. Many states have made it legal to own an ostrich.
Colorado, Florida, North Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Wyoming, etc., are some of the states who are leading the way.
Since it is legal, people like to get hands-on with a baby ostrich and raise it like a chicken, but the problem is that in a few months, they grow taller than you.
Another reason for keeping an ostrich is using it as another livestock. The bird is giant. Its meat, leather, eggs, etc., are in demand. It is becoming quite popular to open ostrich ranches these days.
The third reason is hybrid ostriches. They are a hybrid between the red-necked ostrich and blue-necked ostrich.
It is said that they are not as aggressive as the wild ostrich. Since it is easy to find babies, people like to adopt them as pets.
Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird
The History Of Domesticating Ostrich
The idea of keeping ostriches as pets is an ancient one. This huge bird was kept in the zoo as exotic pets. It was the time of the Bronze Age, and the bird was used for its feathers and eggs. They were trained and captivated as pets in Babylon, Egypt, and other places.
From the mid-nineteenth century, the full domestication of the bird started. The feather was in high demand at that time. The ostrich feathers were the fashion trend, and their export was also undertaken in huge amounts.
It came to an end at the time of World War II as the market crashed and the industry somehow survived.
Earlier, the purpose of keeping ostriches as pets was solely commercial. But it has changed now.
Do Ostriches Fall In Love With Humans? Do They Really Like Humans?
If they see you in the wild near their homes, they are not going to like you for sure. They are very territorial and do not like to be disturbed.
If you are out in the wild near ostrich homes, you need to be aware of their claws and keep your distance.
The story is entirely different with farmed ostriches. In fact, research showed that ostriches that are raised on farms near humans develop this feeling that they can mate a human.
It may not sound good, but scientists observed this behavior in farm birds.
Both the male and female ostrich are attracted by humans and become very happy, as the research found out.
So, if you want to keep an ostrich as a pet, remember that it may fall in love with you!
Do Ostriches Like Being Petted?
No. They are not friendly birds. They have lived in the wilds for so long that the idea of being petted by a small human hand does not appeal to them.
You may shock the bird and compel it to use its large claw. They are not as intelligent as other pets, and they cannot be trained at all.
Even if you keep an ostrich as a pet, being petted depends on the mood of the bird. When it comes to mood swings, they have thousands of them.
Is It Safe To Pet An Ostrich?
No. It is a 7-9 feet bird you are talking about. The major qualities of an ostrich include being aggressive, territorial, and wild.
Their legs are powerful enough to kill a lion or a human. The 4-inch claws and strong legs help them achieve a speed of 70 km/h.
It is not wise to pet such a large bird. The moods cannot be assessed, and even a pet can cause serious injury.
If you are living on a farm with lots of open space, keeping an ostrich can be good. But there is always the risk of the bird getting aggressive. It can also harm your neighbors.
How Hard Is It To Raise Ostriches?
Taking care of a dog involves timely food and walks, play and fun. But with ostriches, it is not the same.
First of all, you need to check your state laws whether it is legal to get an ostrich. Then get an egg or a bird. It is advisable to get an ostrich egg so that when the baby comes out, it will find you and recognize you. But it requires an incubator.
If you do not have an incubator, you can get a small chick. They need to be settled down on the floor with even surfaces. Uneven and rough grounds can cause trouble for their legs. They also need special food.
Alongside, you need to keep waterers around them, but it should not dampen the soil. They can get dirty, and infections spread fast in babies.
As the baby ostriches start growing, they need to be kept in pens. You can also place food there. Always feed them seeds, grains, etc. They are wild animals and do not like junk food.
As your bird starts growing up taller than you, you need an equally taller fence. They should be large fences without any holes, gaps, or space below the fence. It should be sunk deeper into the ground to avoid predators.
Can You Tame Ostrich?
Yes, you can. An ostrich is not a bird that can be trained, and it is not intelligent enough to learn what you want. It is a wild bird, and it is possible that before you exercise control, it injures you.
There have been stories of African people riding ostriches. They don’t say how far they made or how they guided the ostriches to go in a certain direction, but it can be understood that ostriches can be tamed.
Related Read: Are Ostriches Dangerous to Humans?
Space and Domestic Habitat Requirements
Ostriches are large birds that cannot sleep on the corner of your bed like a little pug. They need space of their own. It is a 7-9 feet high bird, so they need proper shelter.
An ostrich has feathers, which may get wet in the rain, plus the winter can be intolerable. They are native to the African desert, where they roam freely among giraffes, zebras, etc.
It is impossible to give them the same environment, but you can give them a nice home. They take up to 60-80 square feet of space. They must have a sandy surface with some space above their heads.
How To Grow A Pet Ostrich?
All you have to do is provide the large bird a favorable environment for growth, and they will grow up taller and heavier than you.
If you want a pet ostrich to recognize you, imprinting is necessary. It is the phenomenon that birds consider the first thing they see after coming out of an egg as their mother.
So, you are advised to get an egg first of all. If you are looking forward to breeding the ostriches, you can also buy small chicks one or two months old.
Can I Buy Ostrich As A Pet?
Yes, you can do so if your state laws permit it. You also need to obtain permission to keep dangerous birds before taking an ostrich as a pet.
The only states which have legalized ostrich petting are Colorado, Massachusetts, Florida, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wyoming, and New Hampshire.
How much Does an Ostrich Cost?
If you are looking for a fertile egg only to incubate it later, it will cost you around $100. A 30-60 days old baby will cost approx. $525. A year-old bird will cost $2,500/bird.
If you are looking forward to breeding them, you can buy a pair at as low as $7,500-$10,000 and even go up to $50,000.
Ostriches have lived in the African desert for centuries. They are wild, shy, aggressive, and extremely territorial. They are not as intelligent as other pets and enjoy their wildlife more than human company.
Even though petting ostriches is allowed under the laws of certain states, you always need to be careful with an ostrich. There is always a risk of ostrich’s attacking and running.
You must weigh all the options off before having a pet and then decide if you really want to own an ostrich.