Time-activity budget of ostriches (Struthio camelus) offered concentrate feed and maintained in outdoor pens

A. Allan Degen, Michael Kam, Avi Rosenstrauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The time-activity budget of 5-6-month-old growing ostriches (mean body mass = 57.4±14.5 kg; n = 8) that were offered only concentrate feed and were maintained on packed ground in four outdoor pens (3×6 m each) was studied. They were kept in pairs matched for age and weight. The ostriches were active for ∼ 12 h during the day and sat for 12 h at night. They spent 20.4±14.0% of the 12-h active day sitting, 61.5±12.5% walking, 5.5±3.2% standing, 6.6±3.6% eating concentrate feed, 5.0±1.7% foraging (pecking the ground) and 1.1±0.4% drinking. Each pair of ostriches usually behaved in synchrony, i.e., ate together, drank together, etc. Sitting was mostly done with their necks straight up and their legs folded under their bodies, and on occasion with their necks and heads prone on the ground. The ostriches spent most of their time walking with their necks straight up and sometimes with their heads in an S-shape more or less parallel or close to the ground. They usually walked at a rate of ∼ 1 m/s-1 along the edges of their pens. Each ostrich consumed 1911±266 g dry matter (DM) feed day-1; this figure was based on the intake of each pair of birds. They spent 46.4±25.3 min eating this feed and pecked at their feed 2830±394 times; therefore they consumed 41.2±5.7 g DM min-1 feeding and 0.7±0.1 g DM per peck. They also consumed 129.2±25.4 g DM earth, spent 35.3±13.3 min day-1 foraging and pecked at the ground 1957±737 times day-1; therefore they consumed 3.7±1.4 g DM earth min-1 foraging and 0.1±0.0 g DM per peck. Total water influx, which was determined using tritiated water, was 10.1±3.4 l day-1. Furthermore, it was estimated that 1.0±0.1 l day-1 were obtained from preformed and metabolic water from feed and 9.1±3.1 l day-1 from drinking. They spent 8.2±3.3 min day-1 drinking, during which time they took 315±106 sips.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-358
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Time-activity budget of ostriches (Struthio camelus) offered concentrate feed and maintained in outdoor pens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this