Ever wondered the answer to the question ‘what does the ostrich eat?’. Well, read on! We are going to tell you absolutely everything that you need to know about the diet of an ostrich.
Ostrich Diet – What Does The Ostrich Eat?
Ostriches can eat both meat and plants, this includes roots, fruits, nuts, seeds, insects, lizards and other small animals.
Although, they tend to prefer the plants. This is because their body is not really adapted to eat most meat. It could end up poisoning them.
If an ostrich does eat meat, then it is going to be somewhat of a last resort, or they are going to be eating something incredibly tiny.
You have to remember that most ostriches live in pretty harsh environments. This means that food can be somewhat scarce at times.
As a result, they will take whatever food they can get their beaks on. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that they are going to be chomping down on large animals if they find them.
Ostriches are mostly going to be limited to smaller animals, but we will talk more about that in a short while.
Ostriches Can Eat Plants
As we said, the bulk of what an ostrich eats will be plants and anything that grows on plants. So, if you spot an ostrich in the wild, they will probably be feasting upon nuts, fruits, roots, various berries and seeds.
In addition to this, if an ostrich is really struggling for food, then they will tuck into some plants and some roots too. Honestly, on the plant front, there is very little that an ostrich is not willing to eat.
Ostriches Can Eat Meat
As stated previously, ostriches will not be eating meat all that much.
This is partly because the meat is probably going to be tough to come by for them. Well, at least meat that they can easily digest.
It is also down to the fact that the plants that they eat will provide the ostriches with the bulk of the nutrients that they need.
If an ostrich does end up eating meat, then it will be chomping down on some small lizards and bugs. It is unlikely that they would ever try to consume something that is larger than a mouse.
They wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Since ostriches do not have the best digestive systems in the world when it comes to meat, they are not going to be feasting upon carcasses that they stumble across in the wild.
This type of thing would ensure that they are ingesting a ton of bacteria, and their body isn’t brilliant at fighting off this meat borne bacteria.
It is the same reason why humans cannot consume raw meat except in exceptional circumstances. Their bodies are just not built for it.
If the meat isn’t really fresh, then they will be giving it a skip. This applies even if the ostrich is very hungry.
What Do Domestic Ostriches Eat?
What we have talked about previously applies to wild ostriches. Of course, there are a lot of people that breed ostriches too.
While you could probably feed a domestic ostrich the same sort of thing that they would be eating if they were in the wild, this isn’t really recommended.
This is because it can be incredibly tough to control the number of nutrients that they are getting. Since ostriches are mostly raised for their meat, this can result in lesser quality meat.
As a result, most people will feed their ostriches standard poultry feed.
There are some formulas out there that have been formulated for ostriches. On top of this, the farmer will add some leafy vegetables.
Extra nutrients may also need to be added to the poultry feed. If the ostrich is currently in the breeding season, then this will almost certainly mean adding a bit of calcium into the mix.
Do Ostriches Eat Grit and Sand?
Yes. Just like most birds, ostriches will need to consume grit, small stones, or sand to help grind up the food. They won’t actually be getting any nutrients from this, though.
Instead, it will go into their gizzard which breaks up the food before it enters their stomach.
If you are new to poultry, then read more in-depth about what is chicken grit.
It is unlikely that domestic ostriches will need access to any of this. This is because they will eat food pellets.
These food pellets will contain everything that their gizzards need to grind up the food. It is important that ostriches that are eating pellets only have access to these pellets. T
here should be no grit there. It could potentially kill them because they will end up eating far too much grit.
What Do Ostriches Eat in the Winter?
They will eat pretty much the same foods that they eat throughout the rest of the year. However, because it is starting to get a little bit colder, they may require a small amount of extra protein.
Remember, in the areas where wild ostriches live, it never gets drastically cold. This means that there will likely be plants and other food available year round.
For domestic ostriches, the breeders may choose to add a tiny bit more protein to their diet. However, this isn’t really necessary.
The ostrich would be fine with the standard food that they are being given.
How Much Food Does an Ostrich Need Each Day?
It is estimated that an ostrich needs a little under 7lbs (3kg) of food each and every day. This is a whopping amount.
As you most likely know, the ostrich is the largest bird in the world. This, right away, means that it is going to need a decent amount of food.
On top of this, the ostrich requires a ton of energy to move. It is the fastest bird in the world, after all. This means that it is going to be burning off calories all day.
Due to the environments that the ostrich normally lives in, they will probably have to spend a decent amount of time hunting down this food too.
Ostrich Diet – Conclusion
Ostriches have an incredibly varied diet. While they are able to eat both meat and plants, they prefer to eat the latter. Domestic ostriches will normally eat a food that has been formulated for ostriches.
This helps to ensure that the animal is able to thrive.