WE DIDN'T START WITH MUCH. The existing ostrich genetics we found in the United States were far less advanced than chicken genetics were in the 1930s before Tyson and Purdue began to make real progress scaling chicken production. Whenever deliberate genetic changes had been made over the past 150 years of worldwide ostrich production (almost all of which in South Africa), virtually all of these advancements were made with the narrow goal of optimizing for feather and hide quality, rather than meat quality or quantity. AOF was founded with the vision that ostrich meat belonged as this livestock's most important product, and as such, we basically had to begin our genetics research & development from scratch.
GENETICS BECAME OUR FOUNDATION. We vertically integrated our organization along the entire value chain in order to achieve substantially greater efficiencies in ostrich farming by reinventing the most basic part of the value chain: reproduction. The processing, packaging, distribution, and marketing of ostrich meat as a superior alternative to other red meats doesn't matter if we cannot create the supply to satisfy that demand. The very best genetic building blocks and vigilant adherence to the most humane husbandry practices are the keys to unlocking commercial success in this corner of the agriculture industry.
Since our founding in 2013, we have made huge strides in developing and implementing genetics and husbandry techniques that allow us to create breeding stock in a way that optimizes for the true value of this livestock: premium quality, incredibly healthy, environmentally sustainable, red meat. We have pioneered numerous different techniques and benchmarks to consistently evaluate and track genetic markers of production outperformance and we frequently share our findings with other commercial producers and organizations such as the American Ostrich Association.
CRITICAL TO EVERY BUSINESS PLAN. Among other more obvious benefits, such as increased egg production, genetic improvement is critical to the increase of meat yields, and thus, financial performance of the 21st century ostrich industry at large. Our genetic improvement programs are producing results that are lowering the feed conversion ratio ("FCR" - see bottom of this page) and leading to greater per bird product yields.
We are setting out to do nothing short of improving Americans’ diets by providing consistent and reliable access to a new category of – coincidentally, fantastically delicious – red meat. Along the way, we’re seeking to propagate the best possible genetic pool of U.S.-born and -raised ostriches, optimize feed nutrition and slaughter age, and set a very high bar for ostrich health, handling standards, and farm bio-security. In time, we hope that others will emulate our model, help drive our vision to its logical conclusion, and achieve sustainable success in this exciting, super-high-potential food category.
Our goal is simple: we want Americans to eat more ostrich and we are committed to helping fellow farmers grow their flocks in a way that is healthy, environmentally responsible, and economically sustainable. Thank you for your interest in AOF Genetics.
Related to the importance of genetics is feed. When we set out to improve and expand the US ostrich industry, we were blown away by the phenomenal feed conversion ratio of ostriches – and realized this biological blessing makes proper nutrition absolutely paramount. The benefits – or problems – of any feed regimen are magnified by the efficiency with which ostriches convert feed into weight gain. Through experimentation, repeated reformulations, and numerous trials, AOF has developed what we believe to be the most nutritious line of ostrich-specific feeds ever created. Please visit our AOF Feeds section to learn more about how we approach this challenge & opportunity.