What Is a Baby Ostrich Called? (Facts & Pictures!)

Baby Ostriches on a grass field

As intimidating as adult ostriches can be, a baby ostrich is downright adorable. It has not yet developed the enormous size, heavy build, and strength of its grown-up counterparts, but it’s already got a lot going for it.

If you’re wondering about questions like “What is a baby ostrich called?” “How long does an ostrich egg take to hatch?” and so forth, then this article is for you. Below, you will find all the facts about newborn ostriches!

What Is a Baby Ostrich Called?

Group of baby Ostrich walking outdoors

Usually, a baby ostrich is referred to as a newborn ostrich, ostrich hatchling, ostrich chick, ostrich young, juvenile ostrich, or young ostrich. However, keep in mind that you can simply call it a “chick.”

What Is a Group of Baby Ostriches Called?

If you were lucky enough to encounter a group of baby ostriches in one of your travels, you might be wondering what they are named. The word “brood” is the term you’re looking for here.

On the flip side, a pack of mature ostriches is called a “herd.”

What Does a Baby Ostrich Look Like?

Baby Ostrich appearance

In terms of appearance, unlike its massive grown-up parents, a baby ostrich is a tiny bundle of feathers. It won’t yet have the powerful legs, muscular neck, and plump body structure that come with adulthood.

Having said that, it is worth noting that ostrich chicks will still exhibit the same shape as their heavier and larger counterparts, including lengthy necks, relatively small heads, and somewhat ovular frames.

In one of my visits to a nearby ostrich conservatory, I noticed that when it comes to plumage, these baby birds start out light brown, yellowish, or bright orange in color, while the juveniles are of a darker shade.

Additionally, baby ostriches have striped markings not normally seen on their adult relatives. These include black bands running down their necks, back, and limbs.

Given all these traits, it’s not uncommon for ostrich youngs to be mistaken for other types of birds by novice avian watchers. In fact, they may even be thought to be chicks from another species altogether.

Baby Ostrich Pictures and Videos

If you have not seen a baby ostrich in person, this section will help you out. Below, you will find images and videos of baby ostriches so you can see for yourself how adorable they are.

To start, here is a closer look at a baby ostrich:

Ostrich chick up close

For anyone who is curious about how baby ostriches interact with each other, watch this video:

Baby Ostrich dance party

Meanwhile, here’s a close-up picture of an ostrich chick:

Ostrich chick basking in the sun

In addition, here’s an image illustrating the size difference between adult and baby ostriches:

Size difference between adult and baby Ostriches

Meanwhile, below is a photo of two ostrich youngs laying side by side:

Two Ostrich youngs lying side by side

The ostrich is well-known for their running speed, and here is a photograph showing some ostriches on the move:

Ostriches on the move

If you want to see ostriches in action, here’s a video showing how adult and baby ostriches sprint:

Watch these baby ostriches run! They're not too smart though

As you can see, while ostrich chicks are little, they still look much like their parents and have similar characteristics. The only difference is that they are smaller than the adults and have different plumage.

How Big Is a Baby Ostrich?

A baby ostrich is the largest juvenile bird out there. In terms of height, these birds typically grow to around 7 to 10 inches tall during their first few months.

What’s more, you should bear in mind that a young ostrich will not stop growing until it matures at around one year of age. By then, it will have reached an average height of about 68 to 108 inches.

That said, however, anticipate that some ostrich chicks can grow even bigger than this range, which makes them among the tallest winged creatures on the planet.

How Much Do Baby Ostriches Weigh?

Baby Ostrich size compared to the grass

While initially small at first glance, baby ostriches will still weigh more than what you might expect. They can weigh anywhere from about 2.2 to 2.7 pounds — and even more in some cases.

Regardless, note that this is just the beginning of their lifetimes. Given the fact that ostrich chicks are well-known for growing at a rapid rate, they can double their weight within a few months or less.

As time goes on, however, these juveniles will grow up to be adult birds with a weight range running between 198 and 287 pounds, which is totally impressive considering how little they were at first.

What Do Baby Ostriches Eat?

Most of the time, you will find that ostrich chicks feed on grasses, leaves, insects, roots, and flowers. However, right after hatching, newborn ostriches are not yet ready to eat these things.

During this phase, the young birds’ egg’s yolk sac will be their only source of nutrition. That said, it’s worth mentioning that they can only digest this source of food for about three days after hatching.

Afterward, any type of plant matter will be welcome in their diet. They will also occasionally take insects from their surroundings, as well as small animals, including lizards, rodents, and snakes.

How Do Ostriches Feed Their Babies?

Ostrich feeding its babies

Ostriches do not actively feed their young, but there are several exceptions. When the ostrich chicks hatch, the mother will sometimes immediately begin to regurgitate food for them, such as their egg’s yolk sac.

However, as with any other precocial species, newborn ostriches are capable of learning how to find food on their own without much help.

Simply put, they tend to copy what they see their adult role models doing, and this is how they develop the skills needed for survival.

What Do Ostrich Eggs Look Like?

The fact that ostrich chicks are noted for their big size, it should come as no shock that ostrich eggs are relatively large as well. Usually, one egg can be roughly 4 to 6 inches in length, with an average width of nearly five inches.

You can get a better idea of how big an ostrich egg is by looking at the following photo:

Ostrich egg appearance

Here is another picture showing the distinction in size between chicken eggs and ostrich eggs:

Ostrich egg and chicken egg

Regarding weight, you can anticipate an ostrich egg to weigh between 1 and 2.5 pounds.

I was able to hold one of these giant eggs myself in the conservatory I visited, and it was a very interesting experience, to say the least, especially if you are used to holding an ordinary chicken egg.

In terms of general appearance, though, I would describe them as looking like any other common bird egg would: glossy, cream-colored, and smooth in texture.

However, I also noticed that some ostrich eggs exhibit marks on the surface that look like dirt stains.

How Many Eggs Do Ostriches Lay?

Ostrich hens lay approximately 7 to 10 eggs per clutch, with each one laid after every two days.

With that being said, it is worth highlighting that it is not unusual to find a single clutch containing 40 to 120 ostrich eggs, as communal nests are typical among these large-sized birds.

The following is a photograph of a communal ostrich clutch, which consists of 18 large ostrich eggs:

Communal Ostrich clutch

You can also watch this video to get an idea of how ostrich hens nest together:

How Ostriches Evolved to Lay Eggs in a Joint Nest

How Long Does It Take Ostrich Eggs to Hatch?

In most cases, it takes about 36 to 45 days for ostrich eggs to hatch. This is because the incubation process needs a certain amount of time for the embryo to develop and grow into a fully-formed ostrich chick.

Once ready to hatch, an ostrich egg will crack open, as the baby bird inside will start to push its way out of its shell. It will wiggle, move around, and stretch inside until it makes it out into the world.

Oftentimes, the mother may also scratch at the shell or eat away at it, helping the ostrich chick break free from its protective layer. After that happens, the process of brooding and rearing will then start.

Watch this video to see how an ostrich egg hatches:

A Miracle Ostrich Hatching

When Do Ostriches Lay Eggs?

Ostrich laying eggs

Typically, the breeding season in ostriches runs from late March through September. This means that ostriches can go into egg-laying mode at any time during this period.

Additionally, if you happen to be a newbie ostrich owner and you have never seen an ostrich lay an egg — let alone know how to tell when it is going to do so — there are several signs to look for.

First, you need to know that ostriches tend to lay eggs only during the day and in open spaces where they can see predators coming. They will also do this in groups, often with other members of their species nearby.

Further, if your ostrich hen appears to be agitated when you walk by its pen and see that it is sitting on its haunches with its wings outstretched, it’s likely about to start laying eggs.

Below is a clip showing how a female ostrich lays its egg:

ostrich laying egg

Why Do Ostriches Eat Their Eggs?

Although it has been recorded that some ostriches eat almost anything in order to survive, they do not ingest their eggs. 

Instead, the only time ostriches eat their eggs is when newborns consume the contents of their eggshells after they have hatched.

Note that the ostrich, similar to other egg-laying animals, is primarily concerned with keeping its eggs warm and safe. It will go out of its way to protect its young from potential predators or harsh weather conditions.

Interestingly enough, both male and female ostriches tend to their chicks while still in the shells. They even make sure that the incubation process will not be interrupted by taking turns brooding their unhatched babies.

In the end, it wouldn’t make sense for ostriches to swallow their eggs. After all, they are smart enough to know which ones are theirs and which are not.

Further, these birds only feed on plants, insects, and small animals, as their digestive system does not allow them to devour large chunks of food at once.

Can Baby Ostriches Fly?

Baby Ostrich looking for food

According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI), ostrich chicks cannot fly. Even as adults, ostriches are unable to fly at all.

They have wings that are too small to support their weight and are too delicate to carry them aloft. On top of that, they possess a flattened sternum or breastbone, making flight impossible.

For this reason, you will notice that after a few days from hatching, baby ostriches will begin to walk, leap, or run instead.

When Can Baby Ostriches Fly?

Unfortunately, baby ostriches are incapable of flight. With this in mind, you will be able to spot them more easily as they are always on the ground. 

Nevertheless, it should be noted that their running skills improve greatly over time. In fact, adult ostriches can sprint at speeds up to 43 miles per hour, matched by steady rates ranging from 30 to 37 miles per hour. 

Apart from that, since this flightless winged creature grows up to retain long, muscular legs, you can also anticipate it can jump with ease and cover a distance of up to six feet in one leap.

To put it simply, ostriches make up for their lack of flight by becoming great runners and jumpers. These traits make them perfect escape artists when threatened by predators, such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas.

When Do Baby Ostriches Leave Their Nests?

Baby Ostrich about to explore

After three days from hatching, baby ostriches can leave their nests. Even though these newborns are small and unable to fly, always remember that they can run and walk around.

However, to keep the parents and babies safe from predators, ostrich owners will place them in a special pen, which is usually kept in the barn or backyard.

In the wild, though, it is up to the adult ostriches to ensure that all of their young ones won’t wander off on their own.

The good news is ostriches are known for their habit of chick-creching. This involves assembling a group of unrelated hatchlings with one or more adults among them, making sure that no baby ostrich gets left behind.

How Long Do Baby Ostriches Stay With Their Parents?

As is with other young feathered creatures, baby ostriches are cared for by their parents for some time after they hatch. In fact, on average, they will stay with their adult companions for 6 months to a year.

Fortunately, grown-up ostriches are able to assist the young birds in this process by teaching them how to forage for food, keep themselves safe from predators, and socialize with other ostriches.

In addition to that, the ostrich is known for its habit of forming a creche. This behavior involves gathering together many young ostriches that have been hatched at the same time to train them how to survive in the wild.

Given that the ostrich is the largest and heaviest bird on Earth, no one can underestimate its remarkable size at birth. Tell us what you think about baby ostriches in the comments!

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