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Plans are in for a Fenland farm with a difference



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They are normally seen roaming the plains of Africa but the world's largest bird, the ostrich, could soon become a feature of the Fens.

Gary Patrick has applied to Fenland District Council for permission to establish an ostrich farm on land east of New Bungalow, Hooks Drove in Murrow.

A design and access statement drawn up by Alexandra Patrick of Alexandra Design, in support of Mr Patrick's application, explains the aim of the farm would be to breed and farm ostriches to meet the growing demand for the bird's meat.

Ostriches could soon be roaming in the Fens. (43193309)
Ostriches could soon be roaming in the Fens. (43193309)

It argues the proposals for Home Farm, Hooks Drove, would represent sustainable development and adds that because there is no sleeping accommodation planned for the site it does not matter that the land is in flood zone three - the highest risk of flooding.

The statement says: "Currently, there is a robust demand for quality ostrich breeding stock because there is a supply shortage of ostriches for processing in relation to the demand for meat products in this country."

And explains the aim is to "begin raising a healthy product to help meet the ever-growing demand for an eco-friendly protein source".

Ostrich eggs are 20 times heavier than a chicken's egg. (43193307)
Ostrich eggs are 20 times heavier than a chicken's egg. (43193307)

Ostriches generally eat plant, grass, fruits, flowers, tree leaves and grains. They also eat insects occasionally. For commercial ostrich farming, they can be fed the usual poultry feed.

The statement continues: "Raising ducks, chickens, quails or pigeons commercially has already established as an industry in many countries around the world.

"But ostrich farming is comparatively a new agricultural business idea compared to those birds. Nowadays, many countries around the world have started ostrich farming as a new business venture.

Ostrich chicks are the size of a chicken when they hatch. (43193305)
Ostrich chicks are the size of a chicken when they hatch. (43193305)

"The feather of ostrich is extremely valuable, which is mainly used for home decoration purposes. Their skin is also very valuable, and their meat is considered as very delicious food and has high demand in the international market."

Ostrich meat, it says, is lower in fat compared to other animal meat and also has low fatty acid.

An agricultural shed that has already been given planning permission will be brick built with timber cladding with insulated panels in the sleeping accommodation and incubation building to keep the heat within the building and the birds warm all year round.

The ostriches will be kept in paddocks and will be inspected at least twice a day. Dangerous animal warning signs will be put up to warn the public

During the breeding season March to September the females lay one egg every other day and these will be collected daily and placed in 'state-of-the art' incubators. Six weeks later the chicks, that are the size of a chicken hatch, and will then be transferred to a nursery where they will be carefully looked after.

They have to be kept inside for about eight weeks. The chicks live in groups of 10 to 12 and will remain within the same group for the rest of their lives.

They will be moved to the paddocks at about three months old where they will be able to graze.

There will be shelters in the field enclosures to give the birds protection from the weather.

The statement concludes that a dangerous animal's licence has been applied for.



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