The Curaçao Ostrich Farm
Established in 1995, the Curaçao Ostrich Farm offers guests the opportunity to meet and eat the world’s largest birds. We joined a tour of the farm, which taught us a lot about the ungainly beasts and allowed us to get up close to them. Perhaps a little too close.
I’m going to preface our account of the Curaçao Ostrich Farm with a statement which shouldn’t be the slightest bit controversial: ostriches are horrifying. They’re freakishly ugly, alien birds which just get stranger the longer you look at them. Their dumb, staring eyes are scary enough, and it just becomes worse as you consider their towering size, speed and strength, their ability to shatter bone with a single kick, and their nasty disposition. And have you ever seen one poop? There’s a word for it, and that word is “disgusting.”
Shudder. The Curaçao Ostrich Farm is home to over 200 ostriches, and we met quite a few of them during our 45-minute tour of the premises. We started at the oldest birds, who have been at the farm since its inception. Our guide told us that, in captivity, they can live to be over 100. But most of the ostriches being raised here won’t make it nearly that long; they’re being bred for slaughter, and young ostrich meat is the best ostrich meat.
We saw some emus, the smaller Australian cousin of the ostrich, and then arrived at the pens holding the youngsters. In the first couple years of an ostrich’s life, it’s impossible to tell whether one is male or female; only later, when the feathers begin to change color, will you know. The males are black-and-white, the females more brown.
The “highlight” of our tour was the chance to feed the ostriches. One-by-one, we were asked to hold a big bowl of food, and back up toward the fence. With their freakishly long necks, the ostriches would reach over us and attack the bowl like the awful, mindless beasts they are. It’s fun! We also enjoy covering our faces in cheese and laying down in the alley. Feeding time, rats!
I’m joking, of course, the feeding is actually pretty fun. And later, you can have revenge. A restaurant at the farm allows you the chance to sample ostrich. Their meat is red, like beef, and has a strong taste; we weren’t big fans of our ostrich burgers, but it was something new to try. “And at the very least,” I thought while munching, “this ostrich’s pooping days are over.”
A visit to the Curaçao Ostrich Farm is a different kind of experience, and perfect for kids. The tour was a little heartless; you could tell the guide had his schtick down by rote, and it’s clearly a place designed for big cruise-ship groups. But overall, it was what we expected… informative, strange, and fun. And it helped me meet my lifetime ostrich quota; I never have to see or taste another one of those things again.