A PROFITABLE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY.
FEATHERS EQUAL TO THE BEST
IN THE WORLD.
The alleged refusal of the South Af- rican Government to allow ostriches to be exported to Australia for fear the
Commonwealth will become a serious
rival in the plume market, reveals (says the Melbourne "Herald") the fact that Australia is not without its ostrich farms.
At Fairley, several miles from Kerang (Victoria), there is a fine flock of os- triches, numbering 57 birds, owned by Officer Brothers. The farm was estab- lished 30 years ago on Murray Downs
Station, across the Murray, near Swan Hill. On the disposal of their New South Wales property Officer Brothers moved their ostriches to their Fairley property, where the birds thrive on the natural grasses - saltweed being
their summer fodder.
Young ostriches hatched in an incu- bator are fed on lucerne till three months old. The feathers, which are taken from the birds every three months, are sold in Melbourne. The best plumes come from the first row growing on the wings, and are always
cut from the bird. About three months later the feather stump is pulled. The birds suffer little inconvenience when the feathers are taken.
In view of the big irrigation scheme at Yanco, the New South Wales Go- vernment has moved the State ostrich
farm from Wagga to Yanco.
Mr. George W. Bayly, secretary of ' the South Australian Ostrich ¡Company\ i,Limited, states,that there aro.700birds : on the enntpduy-s fami-nt P.brt ^ligus i ta. and birds are sold,to;purchasers in
all part« of the community.: .-Mr. Bayly ¡ is emphatically of opinion that ostrich , farming .will. >be u large and important] I industry in tho Commonwealth. ' The I feathers have to bo classified by an I expert for'-'the market. -Each class is
distinct arid known on the English feather market ns familiarly as the ; va lions-grades of wool. ' In an ostrich
feather'catalogue tho kinds mentioned 1 «re.Whites arid Feininns, Byocks, Boos, ". Spadones, Blacks,' Drabs, and F|pss.
, Where a.sheep can thrive so can an ostrich: and-.although tho hird, eats . thrice-the quantity of grass, the return ¿n .money . value -is always in. favor; of ? tho 'hird'.; 'A .?.full-grown' bird is esti- mated'to ".give 1 iib. of feathers, at a plucking,. ..whichv is dono, every eight months.,on-the«Port Augusta farm, for a.. return of,; ¿3-a bird. The average .sheep returns .only about G/ to 7/ a year
in ?.'??jyool.'.-Tho,,. feathers.raised in Port .Augusta, lin ve brought prices equal to rthosé-. produced.-by -Egyptian and. Cape Colony,-raised'plumes.
?jyTheJnrst'ostrich farm in South Aus- tralia -was established near Gawler by jthe late Mr. -Malcolm, about 23 years ago;:,-. 'About 'two years ago Messrs. Bowman had a- flock of COO ostriches. Tltejostrich: cari make sliift in the mat- tet of diet besides accommodating itself ,to any climate in Australia. It thrives ?ojvthe Karoo\desert of South Australia; Pry,;air .-and 'sunlight are essential to the';productipri', of tho most valuable pluniage. ¿i,..'.', . _ i . Ostrich "chicks a re ready for plucking .whop, eight months old, tho value of the- first cutting being about 7/0. Oii ;a'^vell-grown .-bird there are'about 12 .qualities of feathers. The price of one
cock bird-and. two hens'.and a sot of eggs is about £250, apart from transit charges. .White Prince ostrich feathers realise from >£27. to £41 a lb., Fominns from £14-to £20, Black., up to £9 10/, nud -B.vocks £0 to £14 10/ . a lb. Tho London ostiich'fenthor sales in Decent ;bor...'1909|'"when 51C8 cases of Cape and.94 cases of.'Egvption plumes were submitted, realised £2C7,0C0 for 119.000 lb.'iOf feathers.-Most.of the Australian ruiscd. feathers, find a ready market in
-There* aro'sufficient pstrichesvavnilable' iii the; Commonwealth to form the nuc- leus of. Stut© 'farms to provide settlers with -healthy birds.