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Eight's Company When It's Baby Ostriches

Marwell Wildlife’s male Ostrich, Boomer, is the proud dad of eight little Ostrich chicks. Ostriches are the word’s largest flightless birds but these little chicks stand only 10 inches tall (25cm) at the moment. From here the adorable chicks will grow at an incredible rate, eventually reaching the lofty heights of their dad, around 10 feet tall (3 meters)!



Photo Credits: Marwell Wildlife



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Female ostriches can lay around 12 eggs within a few days, and up to 100 in a year. They prefer to gather them into a large clutch of eggs from several females, keeping the eggs in suspended animation until they decide to incubate them. This means that all the chicks hatch together within 24-48 hours, so they are all mobile at the same time. The ostriches use the colour of their feathers to help protect the eggs from predators, like wild dogs, lion and leopards. The grey brown females sit on them during the day and the dark male does the night shift. The chicks are then jointly raised by all the adults.
Marwell’s two female ostrich, which live in the paddock with the Grevy’s zebra and Scimitar horned oryx, laid their eggs from mid March through to May. As ostriches are devoted parents and share the raising duties without preference to their own chicks, some of these eggs were given to the females in the African Valley, another area in the park containing ostrich, for them to raise.
Ian Goodwin, Senior Section Manager for the ostriches said: “Boomer has a reputation for being very protective of his ladies and young, and he has now successfully raised in excess of 20 chicks. After an incubation period of around 6 weeks all the eggs hatched earlier this month, and visitors can now see 6 chicks in the paddock and 2 in the African Valley.”
Ostriches lay the world’s largest egg. At around 30 times the volume of a chicken’s egg, they are sometimes used by Africans living in the Kalahari region as water containers. The shell is an eighth of an inch think and extremely strong, it can even withstand a human standing on it without even cracking.