This roadside attraction in Solvang, CA gets you up close and personal with some very hungry big birds.
OstrichLand USA is one of those places that most people know about but perhaps never took the time or had the time to stop at on their way to some place else.
The gift shop sells a large variety of ostrich and emu related products, including frozen ostrich meat and jerky. Don’t worry, the birds at OstrichLand are not raised for meat, they source that from an outside supplier. However, their birds do provide eggs which are also available for purchase in the gift shop. Each delicious ostrich egg is equivalent in size to 18-24 chicken eggs while each emu egg is the equivalent of about 10-12. Now that’s a lot of eggs.
After purchasing your bowl of feed (ages 12 and below = $3 / 13+ = $6) it’s time to check out the birds.
But first, it might be a good idea to read up on the rules…
…and have a little fun.
First up, the ostriches of course.
I’ve been in the same pen with these prehistoric looking creatures before, so the world’s largest living birds don’t scare me one bit.
But there was something a little menacing about these particular big birds.
That gangsta side eye stare and the way the one in the middle was looking down at the sign as if to say, “Yes, we will bite your ass bitch.”
Yep, these big birds were some serious mofos.
Lacking teeth, ostriches swallow pebbles that act as gastroliths to grind food in the gizzard. When eating, they will fill their gullet with food, which is in turn passed down their esophagus in the form of a ball called a bolus. The bolus may be as much as 7.1 fl oz. After passing through the neck the food enters the gizzard and is worked on by the aforementioned pebbles. The gizzard can hold as much as 46 ounces, of which up to 45% may be sand and pebbles.
Since we’re on the topic of food, we might as well follow it all the way through. Unlike all other living birds, the ostrich secretes urine separately from feces. All other birds store the urine and feces combined in the coprodeum, but the ostrich stores the feces in the terminal rectum. Unlike most birds, the males have a copulatory organ, which is retractable and can be up to 8 inches long. Wow, now that’s a BIG bird!
OstrichLand USA was created in the early 1990s by a South African couple. Current owner Trudy Brown purchased it from them in 2003.
Brown turned a bare-bones operation, comprised of a few birds and a simple shed stocked only with ostrich meat into the 33-acre, more customer friendly experience that exists today.
Hey what about us?
Although I’ve seen emus and ostriches mixed together in the same enclosures before, OstrichLand likes to keep their birds separated.
These particular emus were a little more docile than those crazy ostriches next door.
They waited patiently for our arrival…
…and were more willing to share their pellets with their fellow pen mates.
Well at least the were less violent than you know who.
I heard that dumbass.
If you visit during the summer months you may get a chance to see some baby birds. By the time we visited, the babies had already matured into juveniles but they were still cute.
OstrichLand USA is open 7 days a week from 9am-dusk and is definitely worth the detour if you’re in the area.