African birds find home in Arabia

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Arabia - Visitors pulling into the Taylor & Taylor Farm, often remark that it is truly a beautiful place.

As they look around and take in the surroundings, most are unaware that a small piece of Africa lies just around the bend, for this is not your typical farm.

Among the cattle and chickens live eight African Black Ostriches.

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The farm started in 1895 with cattle and while four generations of the Taylor family had lived on the farm at one time, three generations live there now.

Around 1990, Owners Bob and Nancy Taylor had quit raising tobacco.

Nancy Taylor said that they prayed for two years for something to supplement their income.

That's when they saw the ostriches at the Ohio State Fair.

"I fell in love with them," Sue Taylor said.

They have raised ostriches since 1992. They learned about raising the birds by reading books, attending state meetings and "by the seat of their pants," the couple said.

These African Black Ostrich can get to be between seven and eight feet tall.

Taylor said that each one has its own personality.

The General and Susie are two of the more unique ostriches.

The General and Susie are used to visitors, as the farm offers tours for church and school groups. The General struts up and down the fence line. He enjoys the attention of visitors, although he is a bit shy at first.

It is currently mating season for these birds, so Susie is more interested in getting the attention of the General.

Taylor said that it takes six weeks for an ostrich egg to hatch.

The birds usually lay between 60 to 70 eggs per year.

Most people do not know that a person can actually stand on top of an egg and it won't break.

"God intended for the egg to be broken from the inside out," Taylor said.

When youth tour the farm they get to see the equipment, go on a hayride, see the animals and experience what is going on at the farm.

"It's a hands on tour," Taylor said. "Sometimes they get a real education on the farm."

After the tour, visitors can visit the gift shop where they have ostrich products, t-shirts and where they can handle the eggs.

In the fall, the Taylors are planning a church group corn maze which will have a religious theme and be age appropriate.

The maze will be by appointment only.

Taylor & Taylor Farm and Ohio Big Birds, Inc. are located 20 miles north of 141 in Arabia.

If you have questions you can contact Nancy Taylor at (740)