Soft like feather, firm like skin of camel, from A to Z about ostrich skin and ostrich leather.
Ostrich leather which is produced of ostrich skin is one of the most precious products of this animal.
The unique beauty, firmness, softness and durability are the features of ostrich leather. Ostrich skin looks very beautiful.
Compared with other types of leather, the natural fat in the ostrich skin makes the skin flexible and firm to dryness and cracking.
The distinguishing feature of this animal leather that makes it more beautiful is the presence of points related to the feather pedicel follicles on its surface.
Ostrich leather firmness is six times what is for cow leather.
This feature, with its remarkable softness, has led the product to be ranked among the world’s most expensive leather such as crocodiles.
On a large portion of the center of an ostrich skin and its cut edges, the effect of the hotbed of the feathers is clearly characterized as uniform holes.
Which makes the leather and the resulting product look very beautiful.
Usually, after slaughtering the bird and cutting the skin, cleaning, liming, and deliming are done then it prepares for tanning.
After entering the tanning stage like other types of skins, it is tanned and retanned by minerals and sometimes vegetable materials and after passing through different stages, the product eventually turns into precious leather.
The produced leather is usually dyed during production phase and in the drum or in the other usual manners.
After dyeing, the leather is completed and polished so that the beauty and natural pattern of the leather look is preserved and it has attractive, soft, brilliant and firm appearance.
Major usages of Ostrich Leather in the World
The distinctive features of this leather toward others are its different and beautiful appearance, softness, bending ability, and extreme firmness.
Most of the ostrich leather products include handbags, shoes, boots, coats and overcoat.
European fashion halls have been using ostrich leather for making bags for many years.
But, in America, the leather of this animal mostly was used to produce boots and belts.
Due to the unique softness of ostrich leather, some automobile factories or car manufacturers have also used this product for the production such as covers for seat, dashboards, gearbox, steering wheel coat and even cavers in expensive cars in recent years.
The use of ostrich leather for car decoration is more common in Europe.
Well-known manufacturers of sporting goods in the world also use the remarkable strength, softness, and beauty of this leather to produce special sports shoes.
This type of leather has gradually entered in the production of home and office furniture in recent years.
The ostrich history breed is full of ups and downs.
Ostrich breeding took place in 1850 in South Africa for the first time. It’s breeding and development was slow for fifty years, and it was mainly aimed for the meat.
Kelin Karoo In 1945 and after World War II, established a large company in South Africa to pursue the ostrich breeding industry and subsequently leather production.
Gradually local and regional demand for the animal’s meat increased, and the need for the slaughterhouse necessarily led to the creation of the first ostrich slaughterhouse in 1963-64.
The purchase and sale of ostrich skin began at the beginning of the 1970s, so a leather factory was set up by Kelin Karoo near the slaughterhouse, and he gained required knowledge and necessary training.
Before that, the information about ostrich leather was very low.
At that time, the skin was sent to UK leather manufacturers.
Ostrich leather was first used in cowboy boots in Europe and the United States.
But since 1980, the demand for ostrich leather in the United States and Europe has increased significantly.
Today, 150 years after the establishment of ostrich leather factories in the US and Europe, kelin karoo is still the best in the industry.
Capabilities in skin production on a farm
Each ostrich can live an average of 50 to 60 years.
But the appropriate age to mature and slaughter an ostrich in farms is about one year old.
The weight of the animal varies from 90 to 110 kilograms and its height ranges from 100 to 250 cm, depending on the male and female animals and their breed.
The female ostrich is capable of laying eggs at age 2 and produces an average of 50 to 70 eggs per year, on average, 40 eggs of each ostrich can be turned to chickens.
The ostrich has about 35 to 45 kilograms of meat at the time of slaughter.
The amount of skin of each mature ostrich in the main countries in breeding this kind of animal, reaches an average of 12 to 16 square foot.
On average, per square costs $ 35.
Generally, on average 1.2 and 1.5 square meters (12 to 15 square feet) of leather of high quality can be produced from a mature ostrich in domestic farms.
This amount can be increased with respect to the correct principles of breeding.
According to comparative statistics provided by the Department of Animal Welfare of the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, one female ostrich is capable of producing 40 chicks per year; each chicken will be mature and ready for slaughter in a period of 10 to 13 months.
While during this time, a female cow will only be able to produce one calf.
Accordingly, the production of skin caused by the supply of broiler ostriche in this period can be up to 100 square meters, while at the end of the breeding period of a broiler calf which is longer than the required time for ostrich, Only a cowhide skin will be produced, which is maximum of 2.7 square meters.
Take a look at the prices of raw and tanning skin and leather of ostrich in the market
According to the information obtained in the market, ostrich raw skin is currently sold to leather-producing factories or intermediaries at the price of 60 to 90 thousand tomans with regard to the degree and quality of non-tanned leather, and the price of a tanned leather sheet of ostrich will be up to 500 thousand tomans.
By excursion to the leather market of Ferdowsi Avenue in Tehran and speaking with the suppliers of leather goods, you will find that there are currently no bags and shoes and coats made from ostrich leather in the domestic market.
And in very few cases, there are some artifacts in a few types are being sold in some special stores and well-known business centers that their prices are at an average of between 150 and 500 thousand tomans depending on the amount of used leather.
According to the managing director of the ostrich breeder co-operative, two factories have activity contract with the ostrich breeder cooperatives for the ostrich skin processing..
According to the information obtained by the author, some of leather manufacturing units in the Charmshahr of Varamin, over the past months, have started producing ostrich leather on a scale appropriate to the amount of skin provided by the ostrich farm, which Dalir Leather industries is one of them..
Dalir Leather Industries, by producing very beautiful leathers with high quality from ostrich skin, has planned to have negotiation with leading manufacturers of ostrich leather artifacts for export purposes.
Due to the high price and the lack of culture and mentality for ostrich leather products, these products are not offered in the country at the moment, and the domestic market does not welcome it.
Therefore, most of the final products such as bags, shoes, and clothing can be exported, and an ostrich producer said that so far part of these products have been exported to a limited extent to some countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium.
Nutrition and quality of ostrich skin
Ostrich can reach slaughter weight at the age of 9 months
But most bird breeders, believes that acceptable leather cannot be produced from a 9 months old bird.
Considering the need to pay attention to ostrich leather production, the recommended age for slaughter is at least 12 months old.
While scientific studies conducted on ostrich farms in the origin ostrich breeding place, South Africa, suggest that ostrich skin fed on standard and recommended diets have a good quality even at 9 months of age.
The recommended formulation by Ostrich Nutrition Experts is based on fast-growing follicles, and growth of feather with more elastic and firm skin.
All of these together increase the quality of the skin.
Based on these studies, regardless of the age of puberty of bird’s skin, the management of new born chicken which influence growth rate in early weeks, chickens has been implicated that the breeding environment, the variation in the quality of alfalfa used in diets and the experience of chicken breeders are some of the factors affecting the formation and quality of the bird’s skin, and achieving high quality and mature skin even at the age of 9 months.
Such studies prove that special nutritional effects affect the growth of follicles and the quality of the skin. With special nutrition, you can have higher economic benefits in the skin field.
Quality and grading the skin
The general quality of the skin and the possible effects and defects caused by skin diseases
or its physical damage during the breeding period, the shape and state of the holes caused by feather follicles and possible genetic abnormalities in it, error in how to cut and open the skin,
and the size of the skin are considered as the important parameters in determining the quality and grading of the skin before tanning.
Defects caused in breeding period.
Hole or cutting caused by injury and wound, the skin surface scratch, the effects of old ulcer which has not recovered yet completely, sun burn, shelling, skin diseases such as blistering, blain or bacterial damage, germinated and incomplete feathers, being bitten, obvious wrinkle of the skin of the neck, the abnormality of the proportion of the part having feather and granules of the skin (crouponing) to the normal part of skin, (should be on average, 60 to 40) are the possible defects on the skin during breeding period and before slaughter and peeling.
The existence and extent of each of these defects has significant effect on determining the degree of skin.
So that the simultaneous presence of three or four types of these defects, even to the low degree, can reduce skin quality up to 4 degrees.
The old or big sized ostrich has the skin with larger surface and big and ill-sorted which has no good quality.
Too young ostrich also has thin skin with tiny nodes closed to each other; it has no good quality too.
The area and size of the skin is another important factor in determining the degree of skin.
The area of the skin usually varies according to age, limb, obesity and emaciation and weight of the animal at the time of slaughter.
Usually the skin is categorized into 5 sizes, including + A, A, B, C, and D.
These dimensions range from the largest size, 156 dm (+ A ), to a minimum of 80 dm (this unit is measured in Iran based on square foot) for D size.
Proper cutting and opening the skin
One of the main points in having a high-degree, and high-quality skin is the style of cutting and peeling the ostrich and its final shape after opening.
Currently, in ostrich domestic slaughterhouses, ostriches are slaughtered on a chicken slaughter line and a livestock (sheep) slaughter line.
To cut the skin, the slaughterer should make a straight and accurate cutting line from the middle of the animal’s chest from the hew point to the tail, and another line of cut upright on the line to open the skin in the legs.
Another cut is also should be at the intersection of the animal wings.
Skin injuries and peak clipping of the animal
The damage to the ostrich skin caused by the cuts or scratches created during the breeding period reduces the quality of the skin, which greatly reduces the quality and value of the skin.
Reducing the damage caused by skin damage is one of the objectives of ostrich breeders.
Ostriches, especially the male animal, are often injured by their own or with each other’s pecking because of their aggressive and indocile character..
Usually an attacking ostrich, with its sharp peak, wounds the skin of another animal, especially the females.
Accordingly, professional breeders in order to keep the skin of animals of the farm healthy during the period from 9 to 13 months, they try to clip the peak of indocile animals of the farm, especially the males.
Recommendations for skin care after slaughter
１-Removing fat as soon as possible after slaughter.
Because fat does not allow salt to penetrate into the skin at a later stage, so the part containing fat will be fragile.
2- Skin immersed in a cold, concentrated salt solution until it is saturated with salt in a barrel about an hour.
3- Putting the skin on the ground so that its surface is below, then the lash part is covered with salt.
4- Five to six days after the blood serum is removed from the skin, after shaking the skin, the flesh is covered with fresh salt again, then it is put in a nylon bag and after packing, it is sent to Dalir Leather industries factory.
5. If you want to keep the skin in place for longer time, after second time salting, arrange them in a pilling and keep in the shadow.
Dalir leather industry has more than half a century experience and a pioneer in technology and leather upgrading in the leather industry of Iran.
It is a manufacturer of ostrich leather in various colors and tannings.