One of the most important aspects of ostrich farming, and setting up a business management profile for the venture, is a thorough risk analysis. Once you have identified which risks you will face in your venture, you can make plans for each possible scenario ahead of time in your business plan, and will not be caught off-guard if and when the risk is realized.
Many farmers of livestock have been caught unawares by a sudden storm or power outage. Some have had the misfortune of the buyer of their livestock deciding to not purchase after all, at the last minute. How you react to these risks will determine the success or failure of your ostrich farming venture.
Let us look at a number of the risks you will possibly have to face:
Chain of Supply.
For your ostriches to remain healthy and happy, they need feed every day. How will you ensure that the feed you require daily is delivered on time? Will you keep additional rations in case your supplier cannot deliver on time? Will you sign a contract enforcing your supplier to supply on time? What can you do if your supplier does not bring the correct feed or the required amount of feed?
Once slaughter date has arrived, you find that your abattoir has not prepared for your arrival. How can this be prevented? It is essential for a productive processing phase that both the abattoir and the ostrich farming venture keep to their slaughter dates. These need to be set up well in advance, and strictly adhered to.
Although this risk is not a problem on some ostrich farming enterprises, it can become a major problem during the incubation of ostrich eggs. What precautions have you set in place in the event of a power outage? How long will your incubator be able to keep its heat, humidity and airflow if the power fails? Is there an alarm to warn of a power failure? Will you need a generator to back the power up? If you do use a generator, how will you keep the deadly fumes from entering the incubator to prevent deaths in the ostrich eggs?
Young chicks that still require artificial heat in the brooding stages will need to be supplied with heat from an additional source during power outages. What can you do to ensure that these chicks do not suffer from the cold? Some farms are dependent on electrical fencing for protecting the ostriches from poachers and predators. Will a longer power outage affect your fences? What backup plans can you make?
Do you have a refrigeration unit for the processed ostrich meat? Is there a backup plan to keep these going in the event of a power outage?
It is very important that you assess risks in the market place well in advance. Does the market you intend on servicing require certification? If so, where will you obtain this certification? This needs to be done well in advance of slaughter in some cases, and in other cases even before the first ostrich arrives on the farm.
How stable is the market you will be servicing? What will you do if a major buyer backs out of a contract at the last minute? Where will you find an additional market for your products? It is always worth looking at potential markets even if you do not produce enough to supply all the markets immediately. This will ensure that you can remain competitive, because you know the market, and it will pave the way for eventual expansion of your ostrich farming venture. And it will give you an alternative offset place in case of an emergency.
With weather patterns changing worldwide, it is necessary to do a risk analysis even as far as weather is concerned. We all know the expected weather patterns in our areas, but even then we are still caught off-guard by sudden changes or ferocious storms. Will you have a place of shelter for your ostriches in case of extreme weather? If there is no barn, would you be able to construct some type of shelter for them?
When extremely cold weather hit South Africa in the late 1990’s one farmer protected his cattle from the lethal cold winds by stacking hay bales in a solidly built circle, and kept them in it overnight. He suffered no losses while all the farmers in the district suffered hundred of losses under all their livestock. The key was being prepared.
There are many more risks to evaluate. If a fire breaks out in one of the pens, how can you save your ostriches? Alternatively if there is a flood, what can you do? If you identify as many risks as possible, and set plans in motion for these risks, your ostrich farming enterprise will never be caught off guard.