The stages of ostrich farming in NC parallels that across the U.S. Once ostrich farming became more commonly known and began to have a promising future, a breeders market developed. This is where one breeder sold pairs or trios to other breeders and the population of birds began to creep up. The prices reached seemed astronomical, comparatively speaking, for farm animals. The industry enjoyed the benefit of such a market for several years. Those entering the industry now should not anticipate those high prices enjoyed early in the history of ostrich farming. One must keep in mind that there will always be a breeders' market. As farms become more productive, breeders will be selectively chosen and genetics and history will be major factors in decision making.
Currently, the market is in a transitional stage from a totally breeders market to a commercial or slaughter market. There are not enough birds available to sustain a commercial market. The effort of every farmer is directed toward increasing the number of farms and the number of birds in this state.
A bird of 12- 14 months of age weighing approximately 240 pounds will produce approximately 90 pounds of meat as well as a hide approximately 14 square feet. Four million birds would need to be slaughtered yearly to produce 1% of the total pounds of meat consumed yearly in the U.S.