07. Ostriches

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    The ostrich industry became incredibly profitable in the early twentieth century as ostrich feathers fetched hefty sums, especially in the fashion market.  Dr. Chandler observed the large birds being raised on the only ostrich farm in the country, the Cawston Ostrich Farm in Pasadena, California, not far from his home in Los Angeles. 

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    In 1914, Dr. Chandler purchased a herd of ostriches from a farm west of Phoenix and hired cowboys to drive them across the desert to Chandler.  After the ostriches stampeded on the drive, it took two days to round up the birds and complete the trip to Chandler.  Ostriches surround camp during meal time.  Cowboys guide ostriches along the road to Chandler.

    At the time, ostriches were raised for their feathers, which were fashionable decorations on ladies’ hats.  Feathers were quite profitable, with farmers reportedly receiving as much as $17 per pound even during poor economic years.  The Chandler Arizonan newspaper reminded its readers not to pull feathers from the big birds, as that would ruin them.  Rather, feathers should be clipped to ensure that they would grow back.

    The big birds were also raised for breeding.  Dr. Chandler lamented the loss of his stud bird which had brought him thousands of dollars.  Ostriches created quite a spectacle in Chandler.  Local farmer Harry Bouton takes a moment to feed one of the big birds during an outing on Christmas Day.

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