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Estimation of the weight and body condition of ostriches (Struthio camelus) from body measurements
  1. D. C. Deeming, PhD1,
  2. R. M. Sibly, DPhi12 and
  3. I. L. Magole, MSc2,1
  1. 1 Hangland Farm Ostriches Ltd, Upper Wardington, Banbury OX17 1SU
  2. 2 School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 228, Reading RG6 2AJ


The body dimensions and weights of over 100 ostriches were analysed to investigate which body measurements provided the best estimators of bodyweight. The data were divided between growing and adult birds (below and above two years old) for regression analyses. The residual standard deviation of weight was 0.117 for growing birds, using tibiotarsal length and abdominal girth as predictors. The analogous figure for adults was 0.078 using back length and abdominal girth. An assessment of body condition was made by calculating the average weight-for-size of a bird from skeletal measurements which are unaffected by gross changes in weight, and then comparing it with its estimated or actual weight. These estimates of the weight of a typical ostrich should be useful in veterinary practice, particularly when the weight of a bird is required for the administration of medication.

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  • Mr Magole's present address is Department of National Parks, Box 1286, Gaborone, Botswana

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