|dc.description.abstract||The domestication of ostriches and commercial ostrich breeding has a long and interesting history. Orstriches were successfully domesticated in Algeria during 1857 and also successfully bred in Italy during 1859. In South Africa the domestication of wild ostriches started in the Cape Colony with 80
tame birds during 1865. This number increased to 32 247 birds within ten years (De Mosenthal, 1877). Ostrich farming reached a peak during 1913 with 757 000 birds (De Jager, 1985, personal
communication). Currently (1985) there are approximately 120 000 domesticated ostriches in South Africa.
The commercial production of ostrich meat started in 1958 and the first abattoir was built in 1964. At the present moment 85 000 birds are slaughtered anually. Although the income from the carcass of a 14 month old ostrich comprise only 15% of the total income of a 14 month old bird (With the hide
comprising 65% and, the first harvest feathers 20%), the subjects of carcass characteristics and meat quality has long been neglected. Very little is known about the anatomy of the skeleton and muscles of the ostrich, the post mortem reactions of these muscles and the effects of different slaughtering,
chilling and deboning practices. The necessity of the above mentioned have proved very usefull in the beef, sheep, pork and poultry industries.
With this present study we described the essential skeletal and muscular anatomy and included well known practices to the meat industry, such as electrical stimulation of the carcasses, post mortem pH monotoring of certain muscles, different deboning practices and vacuum packed ageing of selected cuts of ostrich meat. The obtained results are in agreement with general meat science, with expected inter-species variation, e.g. where the final pH-values of pork is relatively low at
approximately 5,5; that of beef is higher at 5,7 and ostrich meat even higher at 6,0.
Certain other fields of essential research are pointed out in this study, such as the growth and development of the ostrich, as well as certain basic biochemical research on the meat of the ostrich.||en