Ostrich leather is one of the most sought after leathers in the world. Come see why it's in such demand.
In the early days of ostrich farming in Africa, ostrich hides were made into cape-like clothing, protecting its wearer from the elements. Due to its soft and supple nature and strong qualities, capes and cloaks could be warn year round. As early as pre-Biblical times, history has marked the invention and use of ostrich hides into a wearable market. Because of its demand and limited availability, even then, the price of ostrich leather was high.
Ostrich leather is considered one of the most versatile leathers in the world. True exotic ostrich skins are supple, scuff resistant and durable. Because of those unique qualities, ostrich leather can be made into a wide variety of wearable and non-wearable applications.
In the early days of ostrich farming, ostrich skins were cleaned on the farm, cured and then exported in a wet, salted condition in order to transport them safely from one place to another. The process was time consuming and expensive, making the price of the finished product even higher. Today, many ostrich farmers harvest ostrich skins and leathers on their own or sell to manufacturers close by. This has not only increased the value of ostrich leather, but produces a better product for the buyer. Ostrich skins are fresh and blemish-free, making the production of a wide variety of materials possible.
Ostrich leather comes into being starting with the young ostrich chicks. Older birds often have damage to their skins caused by parasites, age and wear and tear. Those that market ostrich leathers do so only with the young ostrich. Quality ostrich leather often begins with a day old chick. Superb stockmanship in the caring for young chicks is essential. The welfare of each bird will ensure a high quality ostrich skin. Young chicks that are to be harvested for leather are kept away from other more aggressive members of the herd. All sharp corners, thorns and wires are kept out of their living area to prevent cuts and marring of their skin. Depending on the climate and habitat, it's usually also necessary for ostrich farmers to treat each chick against parasites, ticks and mites, which can do serious harm to their skin.
The size of the bird has obvious bearing on the size of the skin and subsequent piece of leather. At ten to fourteen months of age, the ostrich skin is removed. This age of ostrich generally produces 12-15 square feet of hide. By using ostriches of this age, farmers find that the leather is fully developed, but not worn and damaged by age, the environment or disease.
Ostrich leather has a unique quality that sets it apart from other skins. Because of its high durability rate, ostrich leather can be used to make books, shoes and leather bags. Ostrich leather is also supple, however, which also makes it an appropriate leather for items like purses, wallets, handbags and gloves. Ostrich leather offers itself as one of the toughest, but most pliable skins in the world. Full of natural oils, ostrich leather resists drying, cracking and stiffness. No other leather in the world can compete with the unique quill pattern the ostrich leather bears. This, in itself, makes it one of the most expensive leathers in the world today.
THE OSTRICH FARMER TODAY
Though there is currently a large demand for ostrich meat, ostrich skins and leathers are still seen as the long term major product of this bird. The tanned ostrich hide still remains one of the most highly sought after leathers internationally. Today, ostrich leather is used to make a wide variety of materials including luggage, jackets, boots and shoes, gloves, straps, handbags, wallets, coats, and vests. Ostrich leather can be dyed almost any color without affecting the final product.