Version 2 - May, 2008  

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Introduction. 2

Definitions. 3

Breeder Bird Benchmark Performance Targets. 5

Breeder Bird – Comments. 5

Slaughter Bird Benchmark Targets. 7

Slaughter Bird Comments. 7

Meat Muscle Benchmark Targets – 280 Days. 9

Muscle Weight Comments. 9



Benchmark Figures are an important management tool in any agriculture sector.


Mainstream production specie has decades of data and millions of production animals every year.  The leading companies improve their performance year on year through improving management techniques and technology.  Over the past couple of decades, they have not only succeeded in dramatically improving production, they have also succeeded in reducing their costs significantly.


No meaningful Ostrich production records exist, but there is now sufficient experience and knowledge to be able to establish achievable target production figures. 


Improvements in performance come as a result of a number of factors working together – Nutrition, Feed Management, Farm Management and Genetics.  A failure in any one of these sectors will impact on performance and profitability.


When these factors are correctly in place steady improvements will be seen year on year.  These benchmark measurements are achievable goals when the correct management techniques are employed.   In time a centralised collection system can be developed, as is now happening amongst members of other agriculture industries, whereby members can provide their data.  The database processes that data and publishes the best, average and worst figures.  The benefit of this system is enabling producers to measure their performance against industry performance to help improve profitability.



The 12 month laying period:

Northern Hemisphere:  January to December

Southern Hemisphere: July to June


Egg Production:

Includes all whole eggs laid by hen, including those that are chipped, broken, misshaped or chalky in a 12 month laying season.


Eggs Set:

Eggs laid that are placed in the incubator in a 12 month season.  Can be expressed as a percentage of total production.


Egg Fertility:

The number of eggs that are fertile expressed as a percentage of the total number of eggs set in an incubator in a 12 month laying season.


Egg Hatchability:

The number of eggs that are successfully hatched into chicks, with or without assistance, expressed as a percentage of the stated base.  i.e. eggs laid, eggs set or eggs fertile.  The only meaningful figure is percentage of Eggs Set.


Day Old Chick:

The Total number of chicks that have survived to 1 day of age. Includes all live chicks both defective and non-defective



12 Months of Age


Chick Mortality:

Percentage of chicks that die for any reason in the stated period, including humanely destroyed as a result of defective at hatch.



Gross weight alive.  The benchmark figures are Liveweight immediately prior to slaughter.


Killout Weight:

Killout Weight is the Carcass Weight of the bird.


Carcass Weight/Hanging Carcass Weight/Rail Weight

Hanging Carcass Weight, Rail Weight, Killout Weight and Carcass Weight are all terms that mean the same.


Killout Percentage:

Killout percentage is the Carcass Weight of the bird expressed as a percentage of the Total Live Weight of the bird. Please see “Dressout Percentage” below for the Carcass Weight Standard.


Dressout Percentage:

Dressout percentage is the Boneless Meat Weight of the bird expressed as a percentage of the Total Carcass Weight of the bird using the Standards of Boneless Meat Weight & Carcass Weight.


Carcass Standard:

All fat trimmed off the carcass as reasonably as possible, Neck no longer than 6 inches ( 15 cm) in length, leg bones sawed no longer than 6 inches (15 cm) below the hock, rib cage, wings and tail left on carcass, breast plate removed.[1]


Hot Carcass

Hot Carcass weight is the weight of the carcass prior to chilling.  The benchmark figures assume hot carcass weight. 


Cold Carcass

Cold Carcass weight is the weight of the chilled carcass. Carcass can lose approx. 1% of weight of meat per day through drip loss/evaporation.


Boneless Meat/Deboned Meat:

Deboned Meat Weight is the total weight of the Drum Muscle assembly without the leg bone, the Thigh muscle assembly without the Thigh bone and OS1060 muscle.


Boneless Meat Standard:

Silver/Blue skin left on the meat, Major Tendon ends removed. Not included in the weight are: Rib Cage meat, Neck meat, Organ meat or Fat.


Fat Pan:

The Fat Pan is located on the belly of the bird between the legs and towards the rear of the bird.


Fat Pan Thickness Standard:

The thickness of the Fat Pan is measured vertically from a cut cross-section of the Fat Pan nearest the approximate centre of the Fat Pan.


Feed Conversion Ratio:

Feed conversion ratio (FCR) is calculated from the number of kilos of feed that are used to produce one kilo of unit over a given period.  Unit can be Liveweight, Dressing Weight, Boneless Meat etc.


Breeder Bird Benchmark Performance Targets





Key Measurements of Performance

Slaughter Birds/Yearlings per hen – Number




Meat Production per hen per season – Kilograms




Important Measurements of Performance

Eggs Laid per hen - Number




Eggs Set - %




Eggs Fertile - %




Hatched - % of Eggs Set




Day Old chicks – Number pen Hen




Chick Mortality to 21 days - % Day Old Chicks




Chick Mortality to 13 weeks - % Day Old Chicks




Chick Mortality Hatch to Slaughter/Yearling - % Day Old Chicks




Eggs Laid per Slaughter Bird/Yearling produced




Breeder Bird – Comments

1.          Key Measurements of Performance:

These measurements are key indicators to profitability


2.          Slaughter Bird/Yearling/Hen:

The numbers of live chicks in a season that survive to slaughter or go onto become breeders.  Eggs are only of value when fertile and producing healthy chicks able to convert feed efficiently.


3.          Meat Production per Hen:

40 slaughter birds/hen producing 50 kilos of boneless meat will produce more boneless meat than 60 chicks per hen producing 30 kilos of boneless meat. 


4.          Breeder Feed Cost per Slaughter/Yearling:

Breeder birds consume a fixed amount of feed in year and this is the major cost. 

The production value of feed influences number of eggs, the fertility and hatchability of those eggs, contributes to survivability and growth rate of progeny.

The more chicks per breeder group the lower the cost to produce a chick.


5.          Important Measurements of Performance:

These are important measurements of performance and can highlight an area that may be particularly weak and contributing to failure to meet the Key Measurement targets.


6.          Egg Laid Per Hen (number):

The total number of eggs laid per hen.  See Number 2 above.


7.          Eggs set %:

Eggs are not set for a number of reasons, such as:  Broken, Poor Shell Quality, Early or late Season (not viable numbers), Too small etc. 

The Database should be able to highlight the reasons for not setting


8.          Fertile Percentage:

Percentage of Eggs Set that are Fertile


9.          Hatched Percentage of Eggs Set:

Percentage of Eggs Set that Hatch



10.     Day Old Chicks – Number:

Chicks survived to one day of age



11.     Chick Mortality to 21 Days:

Currently the period of highest mortality and directly influenced by quality of chick at hatch.


12.     Chick Mortality to 13 Weeks:

The most vulnerable rearing period



13.     Chick Mortality from Day old to Slaughter or Yearling:

Total mortality



14.     Eggs per slaughter Bird/Yearling:

The average number of eggs laid to produce a slaughter or Yearling. 


Slaughter Bird Benchmark Targets





Key Measurements of Performance

Days to Slaughter




Feed Conversion – Liveweight




Feed Conversion – Boneless Meat




Total Boneless Meat




Carcass Grade




Important Measurements of Performance

Liveweight – Kilograms




Killout Weight – Kilograms




Killout Percentage




Fat Pan Thickness – cm

2.5 – 5.0cm

2.5 – 5.0cm


Fat Weight

+/- 6% Liveweight

+/- 6% Liveweight

+/- 6% Liveweight

Fat Colour





Slaughter Bird Comments

1.          Key Measurements:

These measurements are key indicators to profitability


2.          Days to Slaughter:

Number of Days to Slaughter. 

Earlier slaughter reduces costs but limits potential meat yield.  Markets are currently looking for larger sized muscles. 


3.          Feed Conversion  Ratio – Liveweight :

Kilos of all feed consumed from Day Old to slaughter to produce 1 kilogram of Liveweight. 


4.          Feed Conversion – Boneless Meat:

Kilos of all feed consumed from Day Old to Slaughter to produce 1 kilogram of boneless meat.


5.          Total Boneless meat:

Total Boneless Meat.  Note 2nd column is same time to slaughter as column 1, but increased boneless meat.[2]  3rd column is time taken to produce 5yr target meat yields 70 Days earlier.


6.          Feed Costs to Slaughter:

Total cost of all feed, including grazed feed (when grazing), including any supplementary vitamins, licks etc.[3]


7.          Grade


Grade according to WOA Meat Grading System[4]


8.          Important Measurements of Performance:

These are important measurements of performance and can highlight an area that may be particularly weak.


9.          Liveweight :

Weight at Slaughter immediately before stunning and bleeding.


10.     Killout Weight Kilograms:

Also known as Carcass weight.  There are a number of different definitions of carcass.  When making comparisons ensure comparing like with like.


11.     Killout weight percentage:

Carcass weight expressed as a percentage of Liveweight.  As in point 10 – ensure comparing like with like as there are a number of different ways to define a carcass.


12.     Fat Pan thickness – cm

The Fat Pan is a key indicator to bird health – too much fat costs the producer unnecessary dollars.  Too little also costs the producer dollars in lost meat revenue.[5] 


13.     Fat Pan Weight

A further measurement


14.     Fat Colour

A key indicator to bird health and meat quality. 


Meat Muscle Benchmark Targets – 280 Days

US Muscle Name and

International Number

5 Year Target

10 Year Target

Fan  #OS1046

2340 grams

2925 grams

Oyster #OS1045

1115 grams

1394 grams

Outside Strip #OS1036

  635 grams

  794 grams

Inside Strip #OS1050

 820 grams

1025 grams

Tenderloin #OS1060

 900 grams

1125 grams

Top Loin #OS1047

 660 grams

  825 grams

Round #OS1035

2090 grams

2613 grams

Outside Drum #OS1012

1565 grams

1956 grams

Inside Drum #OS1011

 900 grams

1125 grams

Mid Drum #OS1013

1905 grams

2381 grams


Muscle Weight Comments

The targets set for Year 5 were being achieved in the mid 1990’s in the United States, thus proving them to be very achievable targets. 



[1] Processing units vary in method of dressing a carcass.  These benchmark figures are based on these standards. 

[2] Note weights referenced have been recorded and therefore achievable.  At this time current industry average is only 25kgs in +365 days

[3] To achieve a true value it is essential to include: all feed fed that is either home mixed or purchased, cost of producing grazing material, any vitamin/mineral additives to water or feed, vitamin injections, mineral licks – in fact anything, except water, that they consume or is injected.


[5] With a valuable market for fat, it is possible to formulate for with good quality meat production and additional quality fat to service the fat market. 



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