Blue Mountains
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Ostrich Feed Program


Feeding Program
Body Condition is Most Important
Cautions and Warnings Concerning Feeding Management

Ostrich Feed Program
The following Blue Mountain feeding programs and feeding program explanations are designed specifically for Blue Mountain feed products only that result in a "complete diet" for Ostrich. Our Blue Mountain complete diet formulations can be a Grind/Mix feed on-the-farm using our Blue Mountain MVTM products with our prescribed ration formulas, or it can be our Blue Mountain complete commercial feeds. The recommendations below apply to all complete diets formulated by Blue Mountain using its own products.

Blue Mountain Feeding Program and Feeding Recommendations for Blue Mountain Ostrich Rations
Product Bird Age Feeding Rate
Starter 0-45 Days, or until eating 0.9kgs/day (2lbs) Ad Lib (free choice)

45 Days to 365 Days (or slaughter if earlier) Alternative: 45 Days to 180 Days, then switch to Grower-Lite

Ad Lib to 7 months, thereafter Ad Lib or limit fed 2.1kgs/day (4.6lbs)
Grower-Lite 180 Days - 365 Days (or slaughter) Note: To achieve earlier slaughter and improved feed conversion and meat yields, continue feeding Grower to slaughter. Before slaughter market established switch to Grower-Lite. Ad Lib or limit fed 2.1kgs/day (4.6lbs)
Maintenance Breeder "off season", Future breeders age 12 months to start of breeder season around 24 months of age Limit fed 2.1kgs/day (4.6lbs)
Breeder Breeder Season Limit fed 2.1kgs/day (4.6lbs)

Feeding Program Explanation

BM 20% Starter:
Feed between 0 to 8 weeks (45 days) of age or until the chicks are eating 2 pounds (0.9kg) per chick per day. Feed free choice and several times per day. Never feed more than 2 pounds (0.9kg) per bird per day of Starter formula. As chicks approach eating the maximum of 2 pounds (0.9kg) per bird per day, switch to BM Grower feed.

BM 20% Grower:
The BM Grower follows the feeding of BM Starter--fed free choice until they are consuming 4.6 pounds (2.1kg) per bird per day. Then, check the average body condition of the birds. The backbone at the highest point on the bird's back should be EVEN with the surrounding muscle tissue (ideal). If backbone protrudes up higher than the surrounding muscle tissue, the birds are too thin and you should increase the feeding rate. On larger grower birds, more than 4.6 pounds (2.1kg) can be fed if Body Condition warrants more feed but never feed less than 4.6 pounds (2.1kg) per bird per day. You can feed BM Grower all the way through to slaughter (or to 12 months of age for adolescent breeders), or to save dollars change to BM Grower-Lite at 6 months of age. Chicks won't grow quite as fast on BM Grower-Lite but it may be a more cost effective feeding program depending on your local economy and market conditions.

BM 18% Grower-Lite:
BM Grower-Lite is an alternative Grower feeding program to finish out slaughter birds at a lower cost depending on the local economy. Feed BM Grower-Lite no earlier than 6 months of age. Because BM Grower-Lite is a lower protein diet, it usually can be fed free-choice but again check their backbone body condition frequently and feed TO that proper condition. It is not unusual for 7-8 month old chicks to eat 6-7 pounds (2.7kg - 3.2kg) per bird per day average to maintain proper body condition.

BM 16% Maintenance:
BM Maintenance is a Dual-purpose feed. It is designed for Breeder birds as a replenisher feed during the "off-season" and for adolescent birds (replacement breeders) past 12 months of age and under 24 months of age. Begin feeding BM Maintenance to breeder birds at the end of the egg production season. Feed Free-Choice while at the same time watching the backbone body condition of the breeder hens (ignore the males). Feed the breeders all they will eat until the backbone at the highest point on their back is even with the surrounding muscle tissue. Then, decrease their daily feeding rate to 4.6 pounds (2.1kg) per bird per day. Usually right after the laying season is complete, breeder birds are very eager to eat a good amount of feed everyday for the first 30-45 days of the "off-season". This is a natural instinct to replenish their body condition after a stressful laying season. During that time period is the opportunity to make body condition changes. Continue to watch the backbone body condition and adjust feeding rate to compensate, BUT do not go below the 4.6 pounds (2.1kg) per bird per day or the body nutrient reserves may be sacrificed. Just make sure to do everything possible to get the backbone even with the surrounding flesh BEFORE the laying season begins as the body condition cannot be adjusted or controlled again until the end of the laying season.

The Breeder "off-season" is the CORRECT time to control body condition to the right level and the time to replenish any lost body nutrient reserves. Don't overlook this annual opportunity as it directly affects the production the following year.

On adolescent birds (replacement breeders), feed them 4.6 pounds (2.1kg) per bird per day and then begin to watch their body condition a couple months prior to their first laying season as two year olds.

BM 21% Breeder:
Begin feeding BM 21% Breeder feed when the breeder birds begin their production season, or slightly before if you can observe some mating activity. If you were dedicated to following correct body conditioning during the "off-season", all that is needed is to feed the birds 4.6 pounds (2.1kg) per bird per day. Usually they won't want to eat any more than that anyway and some days is a challenge to get them to eat that much. Feed BM 21% Breeder feed until the end of season, then switch to BM 16% Maintenance feed and aggressively start the "off-season" body conditioning program again.

Special BM 18% Breeder Conditioner Formulas:
If you are grinding/mixing your own feed on-farm, you may be given a BM 18% Breeder Conditioner formula for use by first time Blue Mountain feed customers. This formula is usually a ONE-TIME feed product that is used for breeder birds that have not been on BM feed formulas before. After this initial feeding (usually used during off-season), you shouldn't need it any longer. Follow the recommendations above for Maintenance and do the body condition check program correctly and get the birds to the proper condition before the laying season begins.

Bird Body Condition Is Most Important:
Feeding to Body Condition is the most important part of any feeding program. It is impossible to develop a perfect feed that will fit the nutrient requirements of every Ostrich frame size and body weight on every farm in every country of the world. Blue Mountain's feed formulas are designed for productive performance for the AVERAGE ostrich and average environmental stresses and weather conditions. It is up to each individual farmer to "properly" adjust his feeding program for his/her individual birds on their own respective farm and this is done through correctly adjusting feeding rates (bird intake volume) until proper Body Condition is achieved.

It should be easy to understand that the nutrient requirements of a 400 pound (182kg) Ostrich hen with a large bone frame and large body is different than that of a 300 pound (136kg) hen of smaller frame and smaller body weight. The differences in the nutrient requirements can be easily adjusted by adjusting the VOLUME of the daily amount of feed fed to both birds.

The Blue Mountain recommendations of Body Condition checks is the guiding indicator of when a bird is being properly fed that will result in productive performance in egg production and meat production. When the backbone at the highest place on the bird's back is protruding above the surrounding flesh, the bird is too thin and needs increased feed. When the backbone at the highest place on the bird's back is indented below the surrounding flesh, the bird is too fat and needs decreased feed--or a different feed formulation. The optimum Body Condition is when the backbone at the highest point on their back is perfectly even with the surrounding flesh.

When feeding larger numbers of Ostrich in a single pen, feed to the average Body Condition of the majority of the birds. In large groups when the feeding program is correct, some birds will be too thin, some a little fat, but the Majority will be just right.

For Breeding birds, the most important time period for feeding CORRECTLY and paying attention to feeding management detail is RIGHT AFTER THE BIRDS QUIT LAYING. At that time, they instinctively want to "increase" their daily feed intake in order to "replenish" their body reserves from the stressful laying season and THAT is your opportunity to follow them and get their body condition CORRECT. If you are doing it correctly, their body condition will be right in about 30-45 days after they quite laying and then you can taper off and MAINTAIN that condition.

For Growing birds, begin to check their Body Condition at 5 months of age. If birds are too thin, increase their daily feeding rate until they reach the proper Body Condition. If Growing birds are getting too fat, decrease their daily feeding rate until they reach the proper Body Condition average but never go below the daily recommended minimum feeding rate.

Cautions & Warnings Concerning Feeding Management:
1. Correct daily water intake for each bird is most crucial to proper feed digestion and feed utilization. Always make sure that birds have access to clean and fresh water.

In wintertime temperatures, birds will maintain their water intake and daily growth rates by providing warm water with a temperature of around 80 degrees F. (26 degrees C.). This can be an important chick growth factor in cold weather climates.

2. ALWAYS accurately weigh your feed fed to the birds with an accurate scale so you know exactly what is going on each day. NEVER use a bucket or can filled to a certain level and fed by volume--always feed by WEIGHT as the weight changes from feed batch to feed batch and within a batch. It is also a good practice to RECORD the amounts fed daily so you can track that detail. You will learn a great deal about your birds doing that. In baby chicks, recording amounts fed will also pre-warn you of coming problems as they usually begin to back-off feed a couple days before a big problem.

3. Daily Feed Frequency: All birds should be fed a minimum of twice daily--early in the morning and again in mid-afternoon. This will not only keep the feed from being damaged by sunshine and weather elements, but it will also encourage increased feed intake to maintain proper Body Condition.

Never feed birds late in the day as their only feeding for the day. If the sun goes down soon, the birds will not drink water during the night while key digestive processes are taking place. This will diminish proper feed digestion and feed utilization due to the lack of water in the intestines. Water is an important nutrient and the birds must have access to it after feeding time and for several hours after each feeding time.

4. Always be sure to empty feed troughs or pans BEFORE placing new feed in them. NEVER put new feed on top of old feed. Doing so will cause a decreased feed intake over time and cause problems with birds maintaining a proper Body Condition. The old feed from the day before can be placed in a separate trough or pan to see if birds will clean it up, but always give them the CHOICE in the matter.

5. It is most important that birds only be fed the recommended complete feed diet. A complete feed diet can be ground/mixed on the farm or it can be a commercial feed diet. NEVER give birds supplemental Alfalfa (Lucerne) or Corn (Maize) or any other mineral/vitamin supplementation in addition to their complete feed diet. Doing so will upset the correct balance and ratio of important feed nutrients the bird needs.

In cold weather or times of extreme weather stress, INCREASE the daily feeding rate of the complete feed ration--DO NOT add anything else to the feed. This will give the birds an increase of daily nutrients to fight off any stresses resulting from the weather event. It is also good management to continue this feed increase until a day after the weather has returned to normal. This will help to maintain proper Body Condition during stressful weather occurrences.

6. When Grinding/Mixing your own feed on-the-farm using Blue Mountain products and Blue Mountain prescribed formulas, NEVER substitute ingredients in the Blue Mountain formula without first contacting Blue Mountain. Blue Mountain complete feed formulations are very precise which is clearly needed for good bird performance and productivity. Making ingredient substitutions without the advice or guidance from Blue Mountain on such a change will most certainly lower the productivity and performance of the feed formula and could cause other severe imbalances in the feed ration.

Average Feed Consumption
0-45 days
25kg (55lbs)
0-225 days
222kg (488lbs)
95kg (210lbs)
0-300 days
396kg-440kg (871-968lbs)
110kg (242lbs)
3.6:1 - 4:1
From 210 days
Mature Breeders
approx 500kg (1100lbs)
Laying Season
Mature Breeders
aprox 260kgs (572lbs)
Off Season

Note: These conversion rates are subject to GOOD FEED MANAGEMENT and GOOD FARM MANAGEMENT with GOOD FRAMED BIRDS. It has been Blue Mountain's experience that if a figure of more than 4:1 feed conversion is not achieved at 110kgs (242 lbs) liveweight, then something is wrong (eg. Poor Feed Management, Poor Farm Management, Poor Genetics, Poor Breeder Management). Conversion rates of less than 4:1 are being achieved by some farmers at a bird age of 12 months.

The Key Steps to Increased Bird Production are:
1. The Correct Nutrition Program
2. The Correct Feeding Management Program
3. The Correct Farm Management Program
4. A Correct Genetic Selection Program

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