ANDOVER, NJ (CBS 2) — New Jersey’s only ostrich farmer is in danger of losing his flock. Turns out, very few people want the flightless birds as neighbors.
There are hundreds of day-old chicks and fully grown ostriches at Roaming Acres Ranch in Andover.
“Ostrich is a red meat that tastes like beef, that has less fat and cholesterol than skinless chicken,” explained Todd Appelbaum. “I’ve always wanted to farm and for being in a metropolitan area, ostrich made the most sense because it takes the least amount of land.”
Appelbaum sells ostrich meat, oil and hides to local green distributors and at Manhattan green markets. For the past five years, he’s been renting the 40-acre property in Sussex County to make his farming dreams come true.
But three months ago, he found out that his herd has to move and not everyone welcomes his birds.
“The land’s for sale and our lease is up. I own land over in Hardwick which is in Warren County,” said Appelbaum. “I wanted to move this operation over there, but there’s a neighbor that’s going to give me a problem. They don’t want animals around their property.
Appelbaum says he has 30 days to find a new piece of land and move all of his animals and all of his equipment. Otherwise, he’ll be forced to sell his business, leaving him and his four employees out of work.
“I’m going to do everything I can to stay in business,” he said.
Appelbaum says 25 to 30 acres of level land would be ideal for these large birds. But with time running out, he welcomes all suggestions.
He says he doesn’t have the time or the money to fight with residents who don’t want his big birds as neighbors, so he’s looking for an “ostrich friendly” farm community within 90 minutes of the city.
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