Husbandry practices as related to infectious and parasitic diseases of farmed ratites

Rev Sci Tech. 1996 Mar;15(1):73-89. doi: 10.20506/rst.15.1.916.


Over the past decade, there has been a world-wide increase in the number of farm-raised ratites. The focus of ostrich production remains in South Africa, but other countries are initiating production of this bird in addition to the emu and rhea. Ostriches, emus and rheas are being produced commercially outside their native habitat, resulting in new and unique disease presentations. The authors describe bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases which are emerging in production settings. Biosecurity, together with adequate management and nutrition, will reduce the likelihood of flock exposure and limit mortality in the event of infection. The problem currently facing the industry is that most ratite facilities do not incorporate separate quarantine areas. Newly-introduced birds may contaminate soil and facilities with pathogens such as Mycobacterium spp. and Salmonella spp. Ratites have excellent production potential if producers can profitably multiply and rear healthy stock. The authors discuss the currently-known diseases which may affect the viability of an intensive production facility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Bird Diseases / epidemiology
  • Bird Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Birds
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / veterinary*
  • Humans
  • Parasitic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Parasitic Diseases / prevention & control
  • Parasitic Diseases, Animal*
  • Zoonoses