Physical and chemical quality of ostrich eggs during the laying season

Br Poult Sci. 2003 Jul;44(3):386-90. doi: 10.1080/0007166031000085580.


1. Fifteen ostrich females were monitored for a full breeding season. At 30, 70, 110, 150 and 210 d from the beginning of laying, one egg per female was taken to the laboratory to assess its physical and nutritive characteristics. 2. The average length was 15.4 cm, while the width was 12.9 cm. Average shell thickness ranged from 2.20 mm at the equator to 2.24 mm at the small pole. The three principal components of the egg (albumen, yolk and shell) amounted to 57.1, 23.3 and 19.6%, respectively. None of the above variables, despite showing some significant differences between sampling periods, showed a clear trend linked to the laying season. 3. In contrast, the dry matter of the albumen showed a correlation with the sampling period, increasing from 11-1% in the first period to 12.0% in the last. The crude protein content ranged from 47.7 to 48.2%, the fat from 43.8 to 44.2% and the ash between 5.2 and 5.5% of dry matter. 4. The fatty acid composition of the yolk showed the presence of C18:1 (from 122.0 to 136.4 mg/g), followed by C16:0 (from 40.8 to 46.0 mg/g), C18:0 (from 19.2 to 21.2 mg/g) and C18:2 (from 17.1 to 19.6 mg/g). The content of cholesterol/g of yolk was between 10.6 and 10.9 mg. 5. In conclusion, compared with the hen's egg, the ostrich egg has similar chemical and nutritive characteristics, but a higher unsaturated/saturated fatty acid ratio and lower cholesterol content.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / analysis
  • Egg Shell / chemistry
  • Egg White / analysis
  • Egg Yolk / chemistry
  • Eggs* / analysis
  • Eggs* / standards
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Female
  • Male
  • Nutritive Value
  • Oviposition
  • Seasons
  • Struthioniformes / physiology*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Cholesterol