Our Nature Club visited the Cape Point Ostrich Farm today.
Sadly, I had to leave Jenna at home because she hasn't been feeling too well, but we had booked and I felt that I couldn't go back on my word.
So, leaving her at home with a dvd to watch and promises that we'd return one day soon, Michael and I headed off for a morning together.
Upon arrival, they said we could have the tour for free as we were a "school"!
What a blessing!
The farm is situated close to the Cape Point Nature Reserve entrance.
WARNING: in this winter weather, even on a sunny day, the wind is icy cold there!
Pack in a warm jacket :-)
Our tour guide was wonderful with the children. She adapted to this lively bunch of home schoolers eager to see, touch and experience all that there was to experience.
And what a lot there was to learn!
But I must admit I feel a little like an ostrich today......bird of little brain with a short term memory span.
Let's see what I can remember:
- The male and female share the egg hatching experience-dad's do the night shift! (Wouldn't that be bliss for us human moms?!)
- Having a very small brain, mom unfortunately forgets she's laid an egg. So this is how the farm produces so many little chicks-after they remove the egg from mom, two days later she will lay a new one.
- If you'd like egg for breakfast you'll need to invite a whole bunch of friends to join you (20 if I remember correctly) And if you'd like to have a soft boiled egg for breakfast mom will need to get up at 5:30 to have your egg ready by 7:30! Mmmmm, I think I'll stick to my regular eggs thank you.
- As the farm is a breeding farm all eggs are hatched via incubation methods. Which means even the egg needs to be hatched by human hands with a little hammer. In the wild, mom uses her breast bone to crack her little one free!
- Ostrich leather is the second strongest leather in the world! (Kangaroo leather being the strongest) So if you've got the funds: investing in a leather wallet, for over R1 000, you could think of it as an investment for your grandchildren's children!
- All of those little bumps that you see on ostrich leather are the holes where the feather's belonged.
- Ostriches can't fly-you knew that-but did you know they can't jump either?
- When an ostrich begins to lay her eggs, for the first few times, they start off small and come out filled with stones! After about the third egg laid you will be able to use them for breakfast.
- Ostriches are herbivores: they eat only plants and stones (to help digest their food) and their egg shells for calcium....
- oh, yes, and they eat their own poo.......collective chorus of yuck.......it is filled with the nutrients lacking from their plant diet.
- All of the ostriches on the farm are hand reared. There are different pens all over the farm for the different aged chicks.
And that's about all I can remember!
But I think we'll be back soon for another lesson....
after all there's all this beautiful space to explore, while mom warms up with a warm cup of coffee.....
and I'll need to pluck up some courage to feed an ostrich like this brave girl!