Skin and Leather Quality of Ethiopian Indigenous Fat Tailed Hair Sheep as Affected by Breed and Level of Concentrate Supplementation

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Mengistu Urge
Shashie Ayele
Getachew Animut
Mohammed Yusuf Kurtu


This study evaluated the potential of three sheep breeds (Blackhead Ogaden (BHO), Horro, and Washera) under two concentrate supplement levels (CSL) (L1= 1% body weight and L2= 1.75% body weight) for quantity and quality of skin and leather production. Forty eight yearling intact sheep, 16 from each genotype (8 per CSL) with average initial weight of 21.3±1.5 kg (mean ±SD) were used in a 3 breed x 2CSL factorial arrangement of treatments in randomized complete block design. The animals were individually fed for 90 days a basal diet of pasture hay ad libitum supplemented with L1 or L2 and slaughtered for skin and leather quality study. Skin weight, length and width were measured. Skins were preserved and processed into leather for physico-chemical analysis. Horro breed produced leather with higher (p<0.05) quality of physical and chemical traits than BHO and Washera sheep. The leather produced from BHO sheep had similar tensile strength with Horro and the amount of loads required to crack and burst the grain layer were the same but larger distensions were recorded for BHO than Horro. Feeding concentrate at the rate of 1.75% body weight produced skin with higher weight, wider area, higher grain strength, and thickness than with 1% with no significance influence on tensile strength, fat content and chrome oxide uptake. In conclusion all the breeds and the two levels of supplementation produced quality leather comparable to the quality standard set by leather institutes.


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