With their impressive size, unique flavor, and high nutritional value, ostrich eggs have an undeniable appeal. Their use in exotic cuisine, baking creations, and artistic decor speaks to their versatility.
However, the costs associated with purchasing ostrich eggs are less straightforward. Factors like fertility, seasonality, purpose, and location all influence pricing
This article will break down the most important considerations around ostrich egg costs, including hidden expenses and their value proposition as specialty culinary and ornamental items.
How Much Does an Ostrich Egg Cost?
The average price for an ostrich egg is $75-100 for a fertile egg and $30-60 for a non-fertile egg, although it’s not unusual to find these types of eggs outside of this range. This is many times higher than even organic, free-range chicken eggs which usually cost $3-5 per dozen retail.
According to American Ostrich Farms, for example, the average ostrich egg price is around $30.
Exotic Meat Markets offers fresh ostrich eggs for $199.99.
Mohican Farm LLC sells ostrich eggs for $35.
Eat Better Meat offers ostrich eggs for $40.
Duck eggs may sell for $3-5 per egg at specialty stores while quail and other small poultry egg varieties also stay under $5.
The exceptionally high price of ostrich eggs is driven by their large size, lower production volume compared to chickens, more intensive incubation needs, and exotic status.
While other egg varieties have their own unique flavors and nutritional profiles, none match the absolute size and richness of an ostrich egg.
Fertility Drives Up Price
The most significant factor affecting ostrich egg prices is fertility. Fertile ostrich eggs can cost 2-4 times more than non-fertile eggs due to the incubation equipment, time, and labor required to potentially hatch an ostrich chick.
Fertile eggs range from $50-150 each depending on source and seasonality. Non-fertile eggs typically cost $20-60. The premium paid for fertile eggs reflects the potential future value of hatching a live chick. However, fertility rates are not guaranteed.
Seasonality Impacts Availability
Ostrich egg prices fluctuate based on seasonal breeding cycles. In peak spring and summer months when ostriches are more actively breeding, the supply of fertile ostrich eggs is higher.
Prices may decline 10-25% for fertile eggs during this prime egg availability period. In fall and winter, fertile egg volume drops as ostriches breed less. This lower egg supply causes fertile egg prices to rise again. Non-fertile ostrich eggs follow less seasonal pricing, with occasional discounts in winter when demand is lower.
Purpose Influences Pricing Factors
Egg collectors and culinary consumers have different priorities affecting ostrich egg values. Rare egg collectors focus on egg size, origin, and pristine shell quality. Culinary buyers emphasize interior quality and freshness.
Cosmetic flaws like dents or speckles lower prices for collectors but not culinary users. Farm-sourced and hand-collected eggs command premiums for collectors seeking specific origins. Both markets pay more for jumbo 2+ pound eggs compared to smaller sizes.
Location Impacts Costs
Ostrich egg prices vary regionally based on local availability and proximity to suppliers. In the U.S., ostrich eggs are often imported from farms in South Africa, driving up costs. Domestically farmed eggs from Texas or California are more reasonably priced for U.S. buyers.
Whether purchasing locally or importing, delivery logistics also affect pricing. Shipping costs scale with distance and speed of transport, especially for highly perishable fertile eggs. Opting for farm pick-up can avoid shipping fees.
Hidden Costs Add Up
Beyond just the purchase price, many hidden costs can arise when buying ostrich eggs. These additional investments minimize waste and ensure proper incubation, preparation, and consumption.
Incubation Equipment is Costly
For fertile eggs, an incubator with temperature/humidity controls represents a major hidden cost, with commercial units ranging $200-2000+. Reliable power, daily monitoring, and proper egg turning also require time and effort.
Despite proper incubation, hatch rates can be 50% or less. Raising healthy chicks further increases costs.
Preparation Requires Specialized Tools
Ostrich eggs can weigh up to 3 pounds and require specialized cracker/cutters $30-60 to open cleanly. Their large size also means potential food waste if unused. Recipes may require other uncommon ingredients to properly balance ostrich egg’s rich flavor.
Proper refrigeration is advised to minimize spoilage as well.
Import/Export Regulations Add Fees
Purchasing ostrich eggs abroad carries additional costs from permit fees and inspection regulations. These requirements ensure ethical farming practices and prevent disease spread. However, export/import paperwork, license fees, and inspections can add $50-300+ to order costs.
Additional Display and Storage Considerations
For ornamental eggs, display stands, engraving, and decorative extras add to costs. Refrigerated storage units may be needed to prevent spoilage in hot climates. Ostrich eggs also require specialized handling equipment due to their thick shells.
Unique Value Proposition
When factored into each serving, the cost of an ostrich egg compares favorably to other proteins in terms of nutrition, yield, and uniqueness. One ostrich egg has the equivalent protein content of ~24 chicken eggs.
Decorated eggs offer artisanal originality no manufactured product can replicate. Their sustainability and heirloom qualities justify the price for many buyers.
Best Places to Buy Ostrich Eggs
Direct from Ostrich Farms
Purchasing directly from ostrich breeders ensures the freshest eggs, helpful guidance, and ethical sourcing. Many offer farm pick-up or delivery options. Texas, Florida, and California have the most U.S. ostrich farms.
Specialty Food/Craft Stores
Gourmet meat markets, import food stores, and craft shops specialize in exotic products like ostrich eggs. Store owners provide advice on cooking/decorating. Prices may be marked up compared to farms.
Reputable Online Marketplaces
Online purchases offer convenience but require researching seller reputations and egg quality assurances before buying. Transaction security and shipping conditions should also be vetted.
Ostrich egg costs vary primarily based on fertility, season, purpose, and location. Culinary buyers should consider preparation requirements and nutritional value versus substitutes.
Ornamental buyers can justify the investment through their artisanal uniqueness and conversation-starting appeal. By understanding pricing dynamics and hidden costs, buyers can make informed decisions aligning with their budget and needs.
With proper care and handling, ostrich eggs offer a worthwhile experience for both gourmands and collectors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do ostrich eggs taste?
Ostrich eggs have a rich, creamy flavor similar to but richer than chicken eggs. The yolk has a deep orange color and the whites are lighter than chicken egg whites. Their taste is smooth and mild without any gamey or exotic flavors.
Ostrich eggs work well in egg-focused dishes like scrambled eggs, omelets or baked goods where their flavor shines through. They should be enjoyed in moderation due to their high cholesterol content.
Are ostrich eggs rare?
Ostrich eggs are considered a specialty ingredient but are not extremely rare. Ostrich farming exists in many parts of the world including the United States, Africa, and Australia. Hundreds of thousands of ostrich eggs are produced globally each year.
However, only a small fraction reach consumer markets, with most used for breeding purposes. Outside of farming regions, access to fresh ostrich eggs may be limited. But they can be shipped from specialty suppliers making them available to any interested consumer.
Can you buy ostrich eggs in the US?
Yes, ostrich eggs can be purchased from various sources in the United States. The most direct option is buying from local ostrich farms or breeders, especially in Texas, Florida and Southern California where ostrich farming operations exist.
Ostrich eggs can also be found at some specialty food stores or gourmet markets, particularly in metropolitan areas. Online stores ship ostrich eggs nationwide, usually imported from African farms.
Prices may be higher than purchasing direct from US farms when factoring in shipping costs. Consumers should research reputable sellers and ensure proper handling for any ostrich egg purchase.