Avian Adventures At An Ostrich Ranch: South African Style

Ostrich Head SL

Our Weird and Wonderful series is on hiatus, and things have gotten back to normal at Gallivance. It was a fun series for us, and we’re happy to have provided an excuse for our readers to stray off the straight and narrow.

Strangely, and unexpectedly, one of the more popular posts was the quail, chicken, and ostrich egg post. UK-born Kiwi and blogging buddy Fiona over at Mistynites, provided a story and photo that seemed a perfect add-on to our post: her avian adventures on a visit to an ostrich ranch in South Africa.

Fiona Standing on Ostrich Egg
Fiona the Egg Shell Tester standing on two ostrich eggs. Credit: Fiona Gilston (MistyNites) © 2015
Fiona's Feet
Fiona the Egg Shell Tester standing on two ostrich eggs. Credit: Fiona Gilston (MistyNites) © 2015

Had I known the details in advance, Fiona would have been the perfect consultant for my post. As a part of a South African Odyssey she did all things ostrich. She feasted on an ostrich egg brekkie every day …

Ostrich with Eggs

…  enjoyed ostrich meat on the barbie, watched a couple of hatchlings debut …

African_Ostrich and Chicks

… and the funniest and most fun of all – rode an ostrich (color me envious).

“Ostrich riding is much like sitting on a large feather cushion with a large joystick as a control. Bending the neck left turns it left, right turns it right, and pulling it back makes it stop. Their long sinewy necks are so flexible that they can bend them round in all sorts of angles, something which you need to be very aware of with the males when it comes to avoiding bites from an amorous bird.” –Fiona the Ostrich Wrangler

So a big shout out and thanks to Fiona. Her adventures on the ostrich ranch were part of her South African Odyssey post, which will make you want to find the nearest airport and zip off to South Africa.

BTW, this post will officially close the ostrich egg topic because I’ve totally eggs-hausted my supply of egg puns.

Happy Trails,


Photo Credits:
1. rupertjefferies
2. Lip Kee Yap via Wikimedia Commons
3. Fischchen via Wikimedia Commons
4, & 5. Fiona Gilston (MistyNites) © 2015
6. Tony Wills via Wikimedia Commons

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

41 thoughts

      1. Carry on with the puns. I’m hoping you got my little one as in take a break? break an egg? Yes i know I am not as punny as you. Okay stopping now. 🙂

    1. And thank you Fi for inspiration. This must have been a fantastic trip. South Africa is on our list, but as you know, it takes lots of planning. It isn’t a place you just drop by. ~James

  1. After I eggs-amined your photos, I wanted to take the next flight out.
    Oh, my. What big eyes you have, and your lips…I mean, beak, looks puckered up for a kiss—forget it!
    Nice to see such a close-up of an ostrich. My first time. 😀 😀 😀

    1. Aren’t those closeup shots great. I didn’t realize that ostriches were so … how shall I put this delicately… ugly. And from Fiona’s description, the males sound cranky as well. But any animal that can be a source of two food groups, and provide transportation as well, can’t be all bad. ~James

  2. What an eggs-celent post and
    eggs-traordinary lady, Fiona!
    Wow, I wish I could trade in my ride on the NYC subway for an ostrich… I’d make a brilliant commute to the office!
    Cheers !!

    1. Lia, given the number of people and diversity in NYC, I’m sure that at some point somebody has commuted to work on an ostrich. I remember seeing some photos from the early 1900s with children of the upper classes riding around in small wagons pulled by goats. ~James

      1. You’re right! I’m sure no one would bat an eyelash! Oh that’s interesting about the goats!

  3. Ha Ha! What a great add-on! Can’t believe she’s standing on the eggs! Maybe Mr. Cogburn at the ranch in AZ can learn a thing or two from the rancher in S. Africa as far as what to do when a balloon or plane flies over! Wouldn’t want them to suffer the same fate!

    1. This is a tasty kernel of info Kelly. I read the NPR interview with Cogburn, and the mental image of a terrified ostrich running into a fence at 35 mph is a strong one. And he lost the lawsuit 😦 ~James

  4. What a good-looking chap! 🙂
    You know when you suddenly think ‘I haven’t seen…around for a while’? Well, I just did, and am happy to find you entertaining the troops as ever. Safe and happy travels!

  5. I’ve heard of walking on eggshells, but Fiona wins the prize 🙂

    This reminded me of when I was in high school back in 1994 I had to take a class in economics. One time the teacher was talking about penny stocks. As an example, he mentioned how someone had recently attempted to convince him to buy stock in an “ostrich burger farm” in Australia. It was the first time I had ever heard of anyone domesticating ostriches and using them for food. Apparently the whole ostrich burger thing did not become the next big phenomenon, though, since in the two decades since I cannot recall ever seeing them on any restaurant menus. Well, at least not here in the NY metropolitan area. Maybe it is a much more popular thing in other parts of the world.

    1. Walking on eggshells – that’s a good one Ben, and I’m sorry I didn’t think of it for the caption on the photo. It’s a bit surprising that ostrich doesn’t show up on restaurant menus. In these days of bison burgers, why discriminate against the ostrich. Fiona can describe the flavor, but I can say that after trying gator and bison that I’d have no problem having an ostrich burger: it must be low in saturated fat. ~James

  6. We lived in a twenty-year-old single-wide mobile home back in the ’90s while we built our home. It was actually OK living. Had to replace the furnace but that was about it. When the house was done we sold the mobile home to an ostrich farmer. He wanted it for an incubator…

    1. Fabulous story Tom – fabulous! I can always count on you for a good tale. This is the perfect add-on to the post, and I can imagine that it’s the perfect conversation starter at cocktail parties. Can you tell this story in French? ~James

    1. Joanne, I’m as adventurous as the next guy, but I can think of about 3 reasons I wouldn’t like to sit astride a galloping ostrich. I’m just sayin’. ~James

    1. Well said Curt. I’ve never spent much time around ostriches, but it doesn’t take much time to see they are indeed ugly critters. But, they win the award for the world’s heaviest bird, so they got that goin’ for ’em. ~James

  7. Love that first and last photo of the ostrich. There are ostrich farms in AZ and each year they have ostrich races. It is great fun to watch! 🙂

    1. I read a post by Nurse Kelly (above) about the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich ranch in AZ. Was this where you saw the ostrich races? I haven’t seen ostrich races, but when we lived in Sudan we went to the camel races a few times. You’ve never seen so many long spindly legs and flapping lips. ~James

      1. Yes, it was the Rooster Cogburn Ranch…great fun! I can only imagine what a camel race might look like! 🙂

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