There are generally two methods of rearing to choose from which the ostrich farmers employ – one is called the trio-system and the other is called the flock-system.
The trio-system is where you put two females and one male in an enclosed camp of approximately half a hectare in size. They will have a nest and we go and fetch the eggs and put them in the incubators.
The flock-system which we also employ on our farm is where you take say 20 male ostriches and 40 female ostriches and put them in a huge enclosed field of about 5 hectares. We let them make their own nests and pretty much replicate what would have happened in nature. We then go out into the fields three times a week and take the eggs out.
Female ostriches will lay about 15 eggs per breeding-season, which is once a year, and only after they have laid enough to cover with their bodies and wings will they start to incubate them. When we take the eggs away they keep on laying eggs since in their minds they do not have enough to sit on. Through this process we get more eggs from them and since we are farmers we want as many fertile eggs as possible. The incubation period is 42 days before the chicks hatch and the reason the female has grey feathers and the male black is because he sits on the eggs at night and she during the day.