Ostrich Land USA

I visited Ostrich Land USA on January 20, 2020 on my way to Solvang. During one of the lectures, we briefly discussed the significance of ostriches in Southern California. As a result, I thought that bringing up this fun and interesting experience, which involved feeding and learning about these birds would be perfect. Ostriches are known to be very large flightless birds ranging from seven to nine feet tall. I learned that they can live up to thirty to forty years, are omnivores, and can run up to 40 miles per hour. The idea of an ostrich farm originated back in 1833 when a man named Charles Sketchly, an English naturalist brought and introduced ostriches to Southern California. Charles Sketchly wanted to take the chance and capitalize from the ostriches’ feathers because they were very popular in the 1800s. Ostriches originated in South Africa and were popular due to their precious feathers contributing to women’s fashion. A lot of the women’s fashion consisted of ostriches’ feathers, such as their hats, muffs, and boas. Before 1833, ostrich feathers had to be shipped from South Africa, which cost a lot of money to consumers. An ostrich can produce 50 feathers in a year and each feather could cost five dollars in the 1800s. In March 1833 with the help of investors, Charles Sketchly opened the first farm consisting of twenty-two ostriches in the United States to bring fortune to Southern California from South Africa. A few months later, the flock of ostriches attracted visitors with an average of 150 visitors a day, so Sketchly started to charge an admission fee for people to see his beloved ostriches. His ostrich farm grew into fame and attracted national attention causing other landowners to build an ostrich farm railway to transport visitors from Central California. Unfortunately, the fame and fortune of the ostrich farm did not last due it’s financial difficulties in 1889. However, the ostrich farm is back and thriving as a popular destination stop before arriving at Solvang where people can learn and feed ostriches.  – IH

Masters, Nathan. “Southern California’s First Amusement Parks? Ostrich Farms.” KCET, 10 July 2019,www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/an-ornithological-curiosity-when-ostriches-ruled-socal-tourism

Taken on January 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm


  1. Ryan Mardon

    This is random and cool, I love it! I never knew about the significance of ostriches in Southern California before taking this class and now , after reading this, I learned just how deeply rooted ostrich farms are to Southern California, dating back to 1833 when Charles Sketchly brought them to Southern California. Very cool and interesting post!

  2. AL

    I love ostriches! This was a very interesting read as I was too fascinated when Professor Smith mentioned Ostrich farming in the early Southern California history. It amazes me that they would bring them all the way from Africa for feathers, the lengths people will go is unsettling. Did you know that their brains are smaller than their eyes? Awesome job!
    -A. Lightbourn

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