After many happy years, the Ranch has been sold and I’m preparing to hand it off to the new owner in a few weeks. William will keep the remaining ostriches in addition to the two very successful nightly rentals.
It’s been a wonderful experience and I’ll treasure the memories but most of all, I’m so glad I could make a difference in the life of my big African Red Ostrich, George (aka Gorgeous George). This photo is how I’ll always remember him, smiling and happy to greet me.
George was a rescue who at 15 years old and with a reputation for aggression, no one else would take. His previous owner was afraid of him and he was just as afraid of people. His previous life was lonely and monotonous as there were no other ostriches and his owner would just drop a bail of hay in his pen and walk away. He was so difficult to handle, I thought we’d never get him loaded into my trailer. But we did and after a 16 hour straight drive he arrived at the Ranch frightened and bewildered.
That was three years ago. George settled in quickly and we developed a bond I didn’t think him capable of at his age. In just a few months, he let me feed him by hand and stroke his neck. Of all my birds, I felt safest in the pen with him. He knew I was responsible for his change of fortune and was thankful for it. Once, I slipped while climbing over the coral fence and must have fallen to the ground pretty hard since I blacked out for time. I came to with George sitting next me, gently nibbling at the hair on my arm (his favorite pastime).
However, he had no experience with other ostriches, especially females and never showed any nesting instincts. Until that is, I gave him a harem of females typical of male ostriches in the wild and let them keep their eggs. Within weeks George was sitting on the nest, counting and recounting and gently turning his clutch of eggs.
I’m sure George will bring as much joy to his new owner’s life as he had to mine.
George and his three females (Mary, Darla and Alfalfette) as well as Jesus and his female (Noel) will remain on the Ranch where they grew up. These six birds will continue to amaze and entertain guests for years to come.
I myself am moving on in search of new experiences. Life is a journey as they say and I still have much to discover with my remaining time. Hopefully, they will be as rewarding as these past years at the Ranch.