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Growing up on an ostrich farm

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

An ostrich farm was only a component of my unique childhood. I grew up in Texas across the street from my grandparents who had the ostrich farm. The ostrich farm was an addition to a traditional farm with cows, horses and corn fields. The ostriches were an attempt at an investment to produce meat as turkey farms or chicken farms do. The experience impressed upon me the confidence and a desire to be have a creative entrepreneurial spirit.

A scene that I will never forget is a group of us grandchildren teaming up to gather the laid eggs of the gigantic flightless birds. The egg, resembling a deflated volleyball was vulnerable to the other birds so they needed to be retrieved and placed in the incubator. We had been along for when the adults conducted the recovery so we knew how to do it. One team would man a long plastic pipe in the fashion of a spear (without a pointy end) to fend off the ostriches. The recovery team would gather the eggs in a least to say expedient manner. We would retreat back to the gate relinquishing the battleground back to large birds and then we were done. The eggs would be placed in the incubators and the process would repeat every few weeks or so.

We weren't forced to do this nor were we asked. We just wanted to be apart of the process somehow. This was just apart of growing up in a farm setting and what we felt led to do. We had plenty of other hair brain ideas that looking back were not so wise either but I'm glad to have had the experience. The only idea that I come close to regretting embarking upon was the cow manure for fertilizer. We missed the vital piece of information that the cow manure was supposed to be completely dry before we loaded it in the containers. My grandmother got a good chuckle when we were explaining what we did and how we couldn't move the heavy drum from the field.

I am by no means an adventure junkie but the ostrich farm and the overall farm experience was a contributor to my drive in life. Life on a farm experiences the ability to be courageous with going after projects or objectives that seem daunting. We were fortunate growing up to have the ability to test our limits and challenge one another in the rural outdoor setting. I'm thankful for my grandparents, my cousins who had my back, and the experience.

The ostrich farm was not a success as the success rate of hatching was not high enough to sustain a viable return on investment. You win some, you lose some.

Jake Ammon is a Vice President with Addison Commercial Real Estate in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in commercial investment properties. Contact him at or call Jake at 1-904-834-9809.

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