New Jersey Ostrich Farmer Needs New Place For Birds To Roam

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.

Would you want ostriches living in your neighborhood? Sound off below in our comments section…

More from Elise Finch
  • Rich

    I live in Allamuchy, NJ which is a mile from this farm. You hardly know it’s there, If you don’t specifically look for it when you drive by you’ll miss it. I love taking my kids past it on the way to the store. I hope he works it out.

  • Farmer Mark

    We farmers of American do occasionally have a neighbor or two who think they can come from the city and bring their city zone rights with them into the country. Frankly, if a neighbor of mine was protesting having Ostrich farm next to them, change the sign to Pig Farm under construction. I bet that would open a new outlook about farming to them. If no zoning, do what YOU want with your property, not what your neighbors want.

  • Kristin Sanchez

    It’s your property. Who cares what your neighbor wants. If he doesn’t want to live next to someone with animals he can move.

  • Cyn

    There is a 57 acre farm in Boonton Township, NJ for sale that should fit the bill. We welcome agriculture and farming here, so come on over! Since the Fossil Farms company store is located in Boonton, NJ (and I love shopping there) the location sounds ideal on every level.
    As for the neighbor who doesn’t want agriculture on land zoned for agriculture: “Tough toenails! If you don’t want agricultural neighbors, move to a non-agricultural neighborhood.’

  • Dee Robinson

    What is the problem with people today? This guy is just trying to make an honest living and what does he get – a kick in the pants. I just dont understand. He could live next to my house and it would not bother me.

  • Swell_swell

    The guy’s Warren County land is zoned 3B [farming(qualified) – available via a public records search] – so I’m not sure why the neighbor has a right of refusal to allow agricultural activities. Personally, I say fight for the right to farm. If it weren’t zoned for agriculture, I’d say differently.

  • Sabrina

    What right does the neighbor have in telling him what he can do on his own property?? As mentioned they are not noisy or smelly. This is bull$hit and he should fight for his right to have them on his own property. Unless this guy is doing something illegal or something that ruins the neighborhood, leave him be!!!

    People are such idiots!!! So many whiners and complaining babies!!!!

  • Don Cameron-schneider

    Ostriches are not smelly and are fairly quiet animals… quieter than chickens. If he needs a place within 90 minutes of NYC, then look no further than here in Wayne County, PA. Plenty of cheap and affordable acreage is available here.

  • Chris

    Amazing – those people who move to the “country” yet don’t want the smells. Does’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if a beef farmer, chicken farmer, hog farmer or any type of livestock farmer is nearby, the fresh country air won’t be so fresh. The farmer was there first. Deal with it. If the ostriches don’t smell or make lots of noise and the area is zoned for it, what’s the big deal?

    • Doodle Bug

      What do you mean ‘the farmer was there first’? If he owns all the land then I can see … but if this guy buys the land and he is doing what is allowed by law – what right does the neighbor have to complain? This gives too much power to the people living there. What if they don’t like how he looks? Can they keep him out too? What if they think hes the wrong race or religion or .. age? Same? Sincerely, I want to know how come an old neighbor had the right to dictate waht someone can or canno do with land someone else bought – and its zoned to do what they bought it for? QQers… I think.

      • Kitiara

        I kind of got the impression that the farmer Chris was talking about was the ostrich farmer and was supporting his rights… Not the possible neighbour. Willing to be corrected.

  • Mark Armstrong

    If Todd would like my help in finding a “home” in Mt. Olive, I can contact a local farmer who may be able to help.

  • Dianna

    As an ostrich farmer myself – they have little smell (unlike most farm animals) The ostrich make little noise and are extremely beautiful animals to watch. As ag business go, they are terrific neighbors. I too hate to see folks move to the country and want to take the country out of the picture – they just want a house on a lot of empty land – like a BIG yard. This country needs agriculture!!

  • Hans

    Todd Applebaum should be contacting local NJ farmers, since I would think there are many NJ farmers that would be happy to lease him 30+ acres to supplement their income, yet I’m not sure about farming laws and if there are any legal restrictions?

  • charleen


  • charleen

    people want to live in the country surrounded by farms yet they coplain about the smell , they should go back to the city

  • John Zaffino

    Why do people have to be such pains? Let the guy have his Ostrich farm, for goodness sake, what in the world is he hurting? Besides he’s providing a service and employing others.

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