Husbandry and Genetic Strategies to Improving Hide Quality by Phil Glatz

By Phil Glatz

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1989; Lee and Craig, 1990). In year old ostriches Meyer (2003) did not observe neuromas in stumps of declawed ostriches while Lunam and Glatz (2000) reported the absence of large extensive neuromas in emus indicating that ostriches are unlikely to be suffering persistent chronic pain. The behavioural and neurological evidence for ostriches suggests that declawing does not compromise the locomotor ability of ostriches except in wet regions and has the benefit of improving skin quality, by reducing scratch and kick marks (Meyer, 2003).

Clearly the removal of the toes has a significant impact on the ability of the bird to maintain its footing particularly in wet areas. This may lead to poorer skin quality. Overall, however, it would appear that the behavioural observations in the first two weeks after declawing, that birds might be feeling pain, but this was largely overcome in the adult phase. , 1989; Lee and Craig, 1990). In year old ostriches Meyer (2003) did not observe neuromas in stumps of declawed ostriches while Lunam and Glatz (2000) reported the absence of large extensive neuromas in emus indicating that ostriches are unlikely to be suffering persistent chronic pain.

Percentage Percentages of Skin Grades 80% 60% Declaw Control 40% 20% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades Figure 2. Percentage of skin grades from declawed ostriches vs. control group (not declawed) 25 6. Implications 1. The filoplume and bristle hair results indicate the possibility of genetic differences between the Australian and imported strains of ostrich. Farmers should consider not using breeders which have a high incidence of filoplumes and bristle hairs 2. Declawing of ostriches can improve skin quality by 25% by declawing of ostrich chicks at day old according to the accreditation procedure developed.

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