Sex work meets dinosaur farm: Australia’s last ostrich farm

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This 12 months, the household enterprise is celebrating three many years of breeding and promoting ostrich merchandise: meat, leather-based, feathers and genetics.

A newborn ostrich can survive for five days after hatching on their yoke meaning breeding stock can be shipped around the world.

A new child ostrich can survive for 5 days after hatching on their yoke which means breeding inventory may be shipped world wide. Credit score:Justin McManus

“The sweetness is you need to use each a part of the chook,” Hastings says.

The proof might quickly discover its method on to the plates of Sydney cafes, with plans to make use of the eggs in a meal that may give an entire new which means to the time period “huge breakfast”.

Robert Serratore from Platform 82 in Sydney’s inside west first made inquiries about getting ostrich eggs in his cafe a couple of 12 months in the past.

“I noticed it on Instagram and thought it was nice,” he stated.

Whereas the logistics are but to be finalised, he envisions a platter-sized providing for six cafe-goers to share.

The meat will make an look on the Melbourne Meals and Wine Competition in March, because the house owners of African restaurant Polepole fought arduous to safe fillets for his or her menu.

Head chef Felipe Bley, who will serve the meat with caramelised parsnip puree, recommends cooking ostrich on a scorching barbecue.

“If I might, I might purchase it for my home. I might like to eat it every day,” says Bley, who’s initially from Brazil. “The issue is the provision.”

Till just lately, Hastings has targeted on exporting meat to Europe, Japan and Canada as demand is excessive and he can get good returns. However the drought and outbreaks of chook flu have induced him to deal with the home market.

One day old chicks are tagged and hand reared so Hastings can monitor the birds' progress.

At some point previous chicks are tagged and hand reared so Hastings can monitor the birds’ progress.Credit score:Justin McManus

“The drought has nailed us; our feed costs have doubled,” he says. “I would like an insurance coverage plan.”

In November, he started promoting ostrich meat to Salami Shack, a husband-and-wife workforce who promote cured meats at farmers’ markets. They now promote three kinds of ostrich salami and there are plans to launch a chorizo subsequent month.

“Some individuals can’t consider how good it’s,” says Salami Shack proprietor Greg Little.

Since launching the product, they’ve needed to improve manufacturing three-fold as initially sceptical prospects have turn into hooked.

Typically confused with the gamey, sturdy flavour of emu, ostrich is a crimson meat extra like beef: lean, excessive in protein, and low in ldl cholesterol and fats.

Ostriches have eyes bigger than their brains and need constant care. Hastings says without farming, the prehistoric bird would be extinct.

Ostriches have eyes greater than their brains and wish fixed care. Hastings says with out farming, the prehistoric chook could be extinct. Credit score:Justin McManus

“It’s like a watch fillet steak crossed with duck,” says Leonie Mills, who teaches college students to prepare dinner with the meat on the Gordon Culinary Faculty in Geelong.

Mills has turn into an advocate for the lean meat after discovering it whereas operating a restaurant in Geelong. She says the flavour is sensible and the meat is sustainable.

“I believe it wants extra public consciousness. Folks don’t actually realise how good it’s,” says Mills.

The flightless birds drink far much less water than cattle, produce no methane, require much less land and may develop to 100 kilograms in 10 months.

“Typically you’ll have a reasonably sustainable animal however it’s important to do quite a bit to the meat to get it palatable, however ostrich is sensible,” says Mills.

As Australia’s sole ostrich producer, Hastings is struggling to maintain up with demand. He says ostriches aren’t the neatest animals and rearing them requires hands-on work that retains him busy from daybreak to nightfall.

“We now have to do all the pieces: all of the genetic work, breeding, incubation, hatching, rearing, rising, trucking, processing.”

He receives weekly cellphone calls from eating places and cafes throughout the nation wanting to purchase ostrich meat and extra just lately, eggs.

Abroad, cafes have been serving ostrich eggs as a novelty and Hastings is working extra time to supply a chook that may kickstart the home egg market.

Last year, Hastings sent around 500 chicks to Pakistan for breeding and this year he's looking to kickstart the domestic egg market for unfertilised eggs.

Final 12 months, Hastings despatched round 500 chicks to Pakistan for breeding and this 12 months he is trying to kickstart the home egg marketplace for unfertilised eggs. Credit score:Justin McManus

With a flavour just like rooster eggs, the ostrich produces the most important egg on the earth. An egg from an ostrich is the equal to 2 dozen rooster eggs, and Hastings’ freezer is crammed with ostrich egg quiches.

His personal genetic creation, the ostrich dubbed the Hasting White was initially bred for its white feathers however extra just lately, he has been utilizing the birds for egg manufacturing as they’re smaller and dependable hatchers.

Charlotte is a reporter for The Age.

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