1909 newspaper ad

Golden State Ostrich Farm Salesroom and Office2Golden State Ostrich Farm (circa 1913) 1

The Golden State Ostrich Farm originally opened as Bentley Ostrich Farm in the Fruitvale district in 1908, but soon moved to the southeast corner of East 14th and High Streets. The name change came in 1913.

Approximately 75 ostriches were farmed. Ostrich wranglers would place stockings over the bird’s heads to calm them while gathering their plumage - 24 long plumes from each wing, along with several smaller ones. Of those nearly 50 feathers, only a dozen would be of proper quality to decorate ladies’ hats.

In 1914 the The Game Breeder and Sportsman, Volumes 3-4 ran an advertisement for Golden State Ostrich Farm in which the company offered “For Sale, Twenty Pairs Full-Grown Mated Ostriches.”

Part of ostrich behavior includes waltzing, the habit of spinning around and around crazily when the sun comes up. The birds would often fall and break a leg, a usually fatal injury in ostriches. Ostrich farmers had to factor in annual losses of 8–10% for ostrich waltzing deaths.

As late as 1968, Piedmont Avenue merchants sponsored an annual ostrich race between Pleasant Valley Road and Linda Avenue. The last race had six ostriches in competition.

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