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Effect of sex and feeding system on feed intake, growth, and meat and carcass characteristics of fattening Assaf lambs

AuthorsRodríguez, Ana Belén ; Bodas, Raúl ; Prieto, Nuria ; Landa, Roberto; Mantecón, Ángel R. ; Giráldez, Francisco Javier
KeywordsWhole barley grain
Free Choice intensively reared lambs
Issue Date2008
CitationLivestock Science 116(1-3): 118-125 (2008)
AbstractThe effect of feeding system and sex on intake, growth and carcass and meat characteristics of Assaf fattening lambs was studied. Twenty four weaned Assaf lambs, half males and half females were used. After an adaptation period, lambs were randomly assigned to one of the two feeding systems studied. Control lambs received ad libitum commercial concentrate (70% barley, 22% soybean meal, 4.8% wheat, 0.5% bicarbonate, 2.7% mineral–vitamin premix) and barley straw. Free Choice lambs had ad libitum and separate access to whole barley grain and a protein supplement (73.3% soyabean meal, 16% wheat, 1.7% bicarbonate, 9% mineral–vitamin premix). Lambs were slaughtered at 25 kg LBW. Feed intake was not significantly affected by sex (P > 0.05) but Free Choice lambs showed higher dry mater intake than the Control lambs. Nevertheless, only males from the Free Choice group showed an improvement in feed efficiency rate (P < 0.05) and average daily gain (P < 0.01) relating to the Control lambs. Neither feeding system nor feeding system × sex interaction significantly affected non-carcass weight, fat depots, cold carcass weight, dressing percentage, main proportions of commercial cuts and meat characteristics (P < 0.05). As it was expected, female lambs showed a lower average daily gain and a higher feed conversion efficiency than male lambs (P < 0.001) which was related to a greater fat deposition. Meat characteristics were unaffected by sex, with the exception of longissimus lumborum fat content, which was higher in female lambs.
The present results suggest that Free Choice feeding system might be suitable for intensively reared male lambs since improvements in dailyweight gain and feed conversion rate were achieved, with no adverse effect on carcass and meat quality. Despite the selected diet of both, males and females, did not differ in the crude protein content, the use of Free Choice feeding system for female lambs did not improve performance compared to the Control group.
Description8 pages, 4 tables, 2 figures.-- Available online Oct 25, 2007.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2007.09.016
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