Baby Ostrich Goes for a Walk

Ostrich chick (2)_Taken 9.8.16
Morning walks, three feedings a day, and attentive care are all part of an Ostrich chick’s daily routine at Franklin Park Zoo.

The chick, hatched on September 3, weighed about 2 pounds at hatching and measured about eight inches tall. By the time it is six months old, the chick will weigh around 150 pounds and stand 6 feet tall. The hatching is a first for Franklin Park Zoo.

Ostrich chick and egg size comparison_Taken 9.13.16
Ostrich chick in nest box_Taken 9.13.16 Photo Credit:  Franklin Park Zoo

Because the zoo’s adult Ostrich pair has not been able to reproduce, staff decided to obtain an egg from another zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, incubate it, and hand raise the chick once it hatched.

The not-so-little chick requires a lot of one-on-one time with keepers. Daily walks are important to encourage proper bone development. Diet, consisting of grain, greens, and chopped egg, is carefully monitored so that the chick does not gain weight too rapidly, which also ensures strong, straight leg development.

The male chick will be introduced to the adults when it is five to six months old. In the wild, Ostriches live in flocks that can number 100 birds.

There are four surviving subspecies of Ostrich, all native to Africa. Although all subspecies are in decline, only the North African Ostrich, which has disappeared from most of its original range, is listed as Critically Endangered.

Zoo New England supports the Sahara Conservation Fund’s work in Niger to protect the North African Ostrich.

Ostriches, which live on Africa’s grasslands, are flightless birds built for running. They use their wings for balance as they run. Their long powerful legs, flexible knees, and two-toed feet help them outpace predators and maintain speed over long distances. Ostriches can deliver powerful kicks in self-defense, and each of their toes has a long, sharp claw. Reaching speeds of 45 miles per hour, Ostriches the world’s fastest two-legged animal.

Male Ostriches are black with white primary flight feathers and tail. Females are gray-brown and white. At nearly two inches across, Ostriches’ eyes are the largest of any land animal. With eyes on the sides of their heads, Ostriches have a 350-degree view of their environment.

See more photos of the Ostrich chick below.

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Ten Ostrich Chicks Hatch at Zoo Basel


The Ostrich herd at Switzerland’s Zoo Basel has grown significantly with the hatching of ten chicks since December 20 to mother Manyara, age 21, and father Baringo, age 20. Manyara and Baringo shared the job of incubating their eggs, with the male taking the night shift and the female brooding during the day.  Their efficient system has been perfected over years of practice:  Manyara and Baringo have produced more than 110 chicks since 2000.  All the chicks were brooded and hatched naturally, with no incubators or human assistance.




Photo Credits:  Zoo Basel

Ostrich chicks are precocial birds, beginning to gather their own food as soon as they hatch. Because food is scarce on the African savannah, wild Ostriches will eat whenever food is available.  In captivity, Ostriches will do the same, and have a tendency to become obese. As a result, it’s important for the zoo staff to carefully monitor the chicks‘ food intake. 

Obesity or overly rapid growth can have a negative impact on bone development in young Ostriches. Therefore, feed quantities for the baby Ostriches are tailored to the age and number of animals. Care is also taken to ensure that the feed has the ideal ingredients. For example, calcium – a mineral important for bone growth – is given to the animals via greens, shell limestone, and a special mixture of vitamins and minerals.  The chicks are also weighed regularly to monitor their healthy growth and development.   

Learn more below the fold.

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Ostrich Chicks Shake Things Up at The California Academy of Sciences' Earthquakes Exhibit


The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco unveiled a new exhibit and planetarium show called Earthquake: Life on a Dynamic Planet on May 26.  In addition to plate tectonics and preparedness, the exhibit covers how earth processes shape our landscapes and thus influence evolution over millions of years. That’s where the baby ostriches come in.

Earthquakes fit into the larger story of plate tectonics, a constant process that builds mountains, moves continents, and creates the landscape in which life evolves.  In the case of the ostrich, it and its closest relatives — other flightless birds like the emu, cassowary, kiwi, and rhea — are scattered today all over the Southern Hemisphere, on continents that are thousands of miles apart.  Yet they all evolved from a common ancestor, one that lived during a time when all the southern continents were joined together.  Their distribution today is evidence that the Earth’s landmasses have moved great distances in the past—a validation of plate tectonic theory. The ostrich chicks will be on display until late 2012.