Kalpetta: The emu birds in Pookode Veterinary College can now have the company of four new ostriches brought from Tamil Nadu. The six-month old ostrich chicks have a weight of 120 kg and a height of six feet.
The birds will grow fully within one and a half years. When they grow up, the height and weight are likely to be double, said Dr. John Abraham, the assistant professor in department of ELPM in Pookode Veterinary College.
An adult ostrich costs Rs 3 lakhs. The ostriches were brought to Tamil Nadu from Indonesia. The 10 emu birds in the college were brought from Pudukkottai of Tamil Nadu in 2009. When the number of birds increased after their eggs were hatched using incubator, four birds were taken to Mannuthy veterinary college for research.
Presently, there are 8 emu birds in Pookode college. The ostriches also are brought for research purposes. It is for the first time that ostriches are brought to Kerala for research. Ostrich is taller and heavier than emus. Its egg weighs about 1.3 kg and hatches after 42 days. Usually the male bird hatches eggs.
Emu eggs weigh up to 500 grams and hatch within 54 days. Dr. John Abraham said that they will hatch the eggs of ostrich using incubator. The ostriches were brought here after a journey of 18 hours by Dr. John Abraham, Dr. C. Balu Swami, and Dr. R. Senthil Kumar.
Though ostriches live in deserts, they can survive in the climate of Kerala as well. They feed on oats, soy bean, corns and small insects. Presently, 100 kg of food was brought from Tamil Nadu. Rhea bird, which also is a ratite, will be brought from Thiruvananthapuram zoo to Pookode college, said Dr. John Abraham.