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.
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.