Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strong ostrich egg

I found this picture in "The Ostrich Communal Nesting System" by Brian C. R. Bertram, He and his wife are demonstrating how strong an ostrich egg is, with some humor.
Ostrich eggs weigh between three and a half and five pounds. For cooking, they are equivalent to a dozen chicken eggs. The shell is very thick, so breaking one open in the kitchen would require tools, such as a hammer and a chisel. And then think of the potential mess!
Ostrich eggs are too valuable to be eaten. Ranchers want to incubate every possible egg to raise a chick. Ostrich eggs are also decorated and sold. I wonder what they do with the contents of those eggs. Beth Ostapiuk,, who demonstrated decorating Pysanka eggs at the poultry club last month, had a little German device that would automatically extract the contents of the egg through a very small hole, so as to leave the shell intact for decorating.
Dr. Bertram and his wife studied the nesting behavior of wild ostriches. Several females lay eggs in a single nest, but only one female, the major or dominant one, assists in incubating the eggs. She sets on them during the day and the male at night. A very interesting arrangement, with selective advantages, depending on differences in size, strength, age and other factors, such as prior investment in a nest and number of eggs left to lay. "Cooperation, competition and manipulation all take place," he writes.
Although he has focused on scientific examination of ostrich behavior, he retains his awe of these birds. "One must not forget to marvel at what a remarkable organism the ostrich is, in many aspects of it slife, quite apart from its communal nesting system."


Anonymous said...

I just read a good article about ostriches in this month's copy of "Living The Country Life". It was very interesting to learn about the huge eggs. It said that it takes 1 1/2 hours to hard boil an ostrich egg!

PoultryBookstore said...

I'll bet. I'd sure like to try cooking with them some day, though.

Peter J MELLALIEU said...

The link here takes you to a sequence of pictures showing removal of the contents of an ostrich egg.