Article Text

Factors affecting the rate of growth of ostrich (Struthio camelus) chicks in captivity
  1. DC Deeming and
  2. L Ayres
  1. Hangland Farm, Upper Wardington, Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Abstract

A set of 120 ostrich eggs was imported into the United Kingdom under class 1 quarantine restrictions. The chicks hatched were initially reared in mixed size groups and weighed daily to monitor their health. Ten days after hatching the chicks were separated into four groups, based on their weight, which were kept under identical conditions, fed ad libitum and weighed daily. At the end of the 35 day quarantine period the growth rates of the chicks were correlated with their weight on day 10: the heaviest chicks remained the heaviest. In addition, the degree to which the chicks lost weight and the period for which they did so was also related to their weight on day 10. However, the smallest chicks on day 10 grew more quickly than the largest chicks. Chicks which had been helped to pip and hatch showed poor survival rates and low rates of growth. The growth rate of the ostriches appeared to be influenced by environmental factors.

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