Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ostriches - Breanna

Our field trip to the ostrich farm began with everyone (all 10 of us) piling into Kees beast and driving on over. Our tour was about an hour and a half of fun! I really liked it. We started out learning about the ostrich leather and how to identify and tell the difference between a real and a fake and feel the difference in texture.
Moving on, into the next room was where we were shown all the many different feathers. Females have many kinds of feathers, each of them are individually unique like finger prints where as the males feathers are all the same. Hum interesting.
We were shown how they made feather dusters and other ornaments that were being sold in the gift shop. The guide explained the differences in qualities and how they would be used. The finest ones they use in feather boas used in the fashion industry (like the show girls in Vegas would have) and the lower grade quality could be used in anything from feather dusters to fluffy pencils and crafty toys etc.
Then some interaction with the ostriches started. Feeding time! That’s always fun. They loved the dried corn pieces we had for them. They were hungry creatures indeed. “That’s a very strong peck you’ve got there. Ouch.” It’s kinda freaky with this massive messed up ugly big bird head and long neck coming at you like an out of control fire hose. One second you have a handful of corn and the next peck it’s gone. One of the dumb things chomped on four of my fingers. Not a surprise but still shocking. “Ahh” Everyone laughed at me, of course.
Once we had enough of that we were taken over to the breading pen where one male and female would mate and take care of their eggs together. When entering the pen the guide told us “In case the male comes over to you in a threatening, attacking kind of way, drop to your belly and lay flat, once you do that you are not a threat to him, all that will possibly happen is that he will walk over you then leave”. So to prevent this from occurring she carried a huge thorn branch with her saying that ostriches don’t like you to be bigger than them because they need to protect their eyes and will quickly leave you alone. Their brains are smaller then their eyes. That’s really small for the side of them.
Anyway, we went over to look at the 16 eggs that were in the hut nest and get the scoop about them. Did you know that the mother lays 1 egg a day and won’t sit on them until all the eggs are all laid, only then will the incubation period of 42 days begins? How strange is that?
1 egg is equivalent to 24 medium size chicken eggs. Woah, that’s a lot. These egg shells are hardcore tough and can withstand the weight up to 100 ish kilos. It was really weird when we were allowed to go ahead and stand on them. Stood on an ostrich egg, yep, that would be a first for me. Cool.
Because the farm is mostly for meat, most of the ostriches are running around in a big pen together. Every day the eggs are collected and taken to the incubators until they hatch. Once the baby ostriches arrive they are given over to the parenting ostrich couples. The cool thing is that one couple will accept up to 100 adopted babies and take them in and raise them as their own.
Then finally the real fun started at the riding area. It included a big pen with about 10 ostriches roaming around, one tour guide, 2 workers to help and 20 of us “students” sitting on the small bleachers watching, waiting and listening to the instructions. First, who ever wanted to just sit on an ostrich to get a warm up feel before the ride could do sot. Before you mount, the workers would run over to an ostrich, grab it by the neck, yank its head down and throw a bag over its head and immediately the ostrich would stand still. The mounting is done while it’s in a smaller pen so it can’t run away until you are properly positioned, holding on tight and the workers giving the go and quickly yanks off the bag covering their eyes, then you’re off, set loose to run around on a ballistic ostrich. The ostriches are pretty crazy especially when fuelled by a smack on the ass by the handlers to add to the fun, which was quite amusing.
Ben was first. Omg ,that was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, I was laughing so hard I cried. I could hardly hold the camera to take pictures. At least I wasn’t the only one laughing; everyone was busting a gut at how ridiculous he looked with the big bird under his butt gallivanting round and round. It was really weird and super fun to try and I wish it lasted longer. Seems like any time you are having heaps of fun it ends and is all over far too quickly doesn’t it? You had to hang on to the wings and lean way back and hold on tight with your legs. Really strange. So everyone but Kees, Ammon and dad tried. They don’t know what they are missing. Hahah. I have wanted to ride an ostrich for eons actually. I mean, who does that? Now that I’ve done it I can say been there done that. Wicked. You’ve got to try it some time.
Only one problem now though, the next big thing for me cage diving with sharks. I’m not looking forward to that at all because I am terrified of sharks. Possibly write about it if I survive.
If you never hear from me again you can blame this crazy group of people I am still with. They are so mean and are constantly making the daa da daaa da daa da Jaws music to freak me out. I’m going to die. Nice knowing you….
Breanna

1 Comments:

At 8:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bre, I love your writing it is so alive, and full of fun. It is almost as if your written words were giggling. Your comment on time brought to mind an article I read in I thinnk it was in "psychology today". This is one for you to discuss with your aged father (LOL). They studied our perception of time passing, and quantified it. The conclusion was that we experience 50% of our life by age 20, and another 25% over then next 20 yrs, and the remaining 25% over the remaining 40yrs. Remember when 'summer holidays' were forever, and tomorrow would never come?
Anyways I am really looking forward to the shark blog.

Love as always, and bear hugs
The Bear

 

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