North Bay man happy to have backyard ostriches

From: Philip St. George, thenorthbaybay.ca staff

Cason Strauss has had ostriches for years.

“Currently, I’ve got 4 mature common ostriches in my backyard,” says Strauss. “Three female and one male. I call the biggest one ‘Rita.'”

The ostriches, which each stand over 8 feet tall and weigh anywhere from 220 to 350 pounds, are responsible for laying all the eggs Strauss and his family eat.

“They don’t lay them as often as chickens do, but each egg weighs as much as two dozen chicken eggs. So one ostrich egg can feed my family for a week or more.”

Ostrich Challenges

Strauss says keeping ostriches has its own special challenges.

“Well each bird is fiercely territorial and they don’t much like you taking their eggs. Luckily, I was able to buy that Hurtubise bear suit from the Hock Exchange a while back, so I’m pretty safe now.”

“Otherwise, the ostriches used to kick down my fence all the time, so I had to really reinforce it. Occasionally one of them will jump over the fence, but I’ve put a tracking chip in each ostrich so I can find them if they escape.”

“They can run up to 65 km/hr.,” explains Strauss, “but I’m happy to say that most of them don’t make it out of the Pinewood area.”

No Bird Bylaw

Strauss and his family feel “fortunate” that they’re able to keep their backyard birds. There are currently no bylaws against owning ostriches in North Bay.

“That’s good news for us,” says Strauss. “I’m also glad there’s no laws about owning alligators either, otherwise council might have a problem with my frontyard gator, Skeletor.”

Why does Strauss have a frontyard alligator?

Strauss laughs.

“Well, if you have to ask that, then you’ve clearly never experienced a scrambled alligator egg sandwich or the thrill of losing a hand before breakfast.”

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