Male ostrich (cocks) enter puberty at about 3 years of age. Females (hens) begin laying eggs in their fourth year, however reproductive activities such as nesting and brooding do not begin until the birds reach about 5 years old.
After about 4 years, the males begin digging shallow nests for laying season. Beginning in May the hens deposit an egg into a nest every other day. It is important to remove the eggs daily because once the hen collects a number of eggs she will stop laying to incubate them.
Chicks require special attention for the first three months of life. Care must be taken to provide proper nutrition, and prevent them from eating items that will impact their growing digestive systems. Ostrich chicks are coprophagic, which means they must eat older birds feces to populate the beneficial gut flora in their intestinal system.
After 12 months, the rapid growth of a young ostrich plateaus and the juvenile stage begins. Plumage begins to reflect the birds sex; males feathers become black with white tips, while females become all grey.