Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 16, 1996)
TOP: OSTRICHES ARE BECOMING a new source of red meat that is
low in cholesterol and fat. Ostrich meat is already on the menu at Porky’s
Bar and Grill in Pleasant Dale and at Crane River Brewpub and Cafe,
200 N. 11th St.
BOTTOM: CAl'Hl CHICOINE gets lots of attention from ostriches at
the Chicoine Ostrich Farm in Pleasant Dale. Ostriches are attracted to
bright or shiny objects and were going after buttons on Chicoine’s shirt.
Lepper meat market
OstricJ^xroving to be a new low-fat alternative I
By Erin Gibson
At 6 feet tall and 85 pounds, Big
Baby’s beating the odds.
Hot siblings will be eaten, used in
medicines and cosmetics. But, at the age
of three months, her future is secure.
Big Baby’s job is to make more ba
bies. She will breed with other ostriches
to give Nebraska a taste of new red meat
Big Baby is one of many swift
footed birds raised in East Campus’
Poultry Science building and on farms
southwest of Lincoln. “•
Kay Kunze, a junior fisheries and
wildlife major, said she watched over
Big Baby from birth, making sure the
bird survived in an environment differ
ent from her native South Africa.
Kunze researches growth conditions,
antibiotic and probiotic supplements
that will keep ostriches thriving for the
growing meat market.
“Right now, they’re a delicacy,”
Unlike most birds, ostriches yield
red meat. The meat tastes like beef, but
is about 98 percent fat free. Because of
this, she said, the market is booming.
But Barb Merz, president of the Cen
tral States Ostrich Association in Wa
hoo, said the popularity of ostrich meat
is “just the tip of the iceberg,” Merz said.
Ostrich oil is a powerful anti-inflam
matory agent, once used by aborigines
in Africa to heal wounds. The oil also
enhances collagen production in skin
and effectively reduces wrinkles.
“The market value for cosmetics and
healing ointments is just incredible,” she
Now, meat producers are clamoring
for ostriches to slaughter, Kunze said,
but growers are running into problems.
“Here, about 75 percent of our birds
that hatched died of just being stupid. 1
had to baby-sit these guys 24 hours a
day. They’re dumber than doornails.”
The birds died from stress, Kunze
said. They would get confused, eat sand
and plastic tarp instead of feed, and then
die from the material packed in their
Kunze said she talked with many
ostrich producers who needed five
years’ experience in breeding before
achieving a low mortality rate.
Although Kunze said raising the
birds was a chore, Cathi Chicoine, co
owner of Chicoine Ostrich Farm in .
Pleasant Dale, said the birds were easy
to raise if treated properly.
If the birds have good genetics, they
will be very happy and healthy in a natu
ral, safe environment with proper nutri
tion and management, Chicoine said.
In spite of some dismal death rates,
ostriches are happy birds, Kunze said.
“In the mornings, when they see the
sun, they are so happy to be alive that
they start dancing,” she said. “They open
their wings and start spinning in circles.
Ostriches are also highly productive,
Chicoine said. Most hens lay 40 eggs in
a 6-month breeding season. She has one
hen that never lays fewer than 88 eggs.
At about $6 per pound, ground os
trich meat is about $4 per pound more
expensive than beef. But it is starting to
appear at lower prices in restaurants.
Porky’s Bar and Grill in Pleasant
Dale was one of the first restaurants in
Nebraska to make lean ostrich burgers,
steaks and filets permanent items on its
menu. They sell for about $6 per plate.
And Crane River Brewpub and Cafe,
200 N. 11th St, serves $6.95 ostrich
burgers and $9.95 fajita specials.
Convenience stores statewide carry
v/ouruvu o uiouu v/ouivu mvai ouavn
sticks, which Chicoine helps produce.
Hy-Vee Food Store, 27th and Supe
rior streets, started carrying Ostri-bob’s
ostrich filets and snack sticks on Oct 8.
But Nebraskans aren’t the only
people eating the new red meat
Townes Rawls, an ostrich producer
in McPherson, Kan., shipped more than
5,000 pounds of ostrich meat to
Singapore in September. Next month’s ,
shipment will total 10,000 pounds, he
said. Rawls’ company, Obviously Os
trich, opened a branch in England and
has several orders scheduled for deliv
ery in England and mainland Europe.
The demand is turning the Midwest '
into an international port of call, he said.
Currently, production is light but os
trich meat is gaining visibility.
And that should ruffle some feath- j
v. " 1
Powered by Open ONI