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Carcass characteristics of the commercial types of suckling lamb, light lamb and castrated lamb of Churra Tensina breed

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Authors: A. Sanz, J. Álvarez-Rodríguez, L. Cascarosa, G. Ripoll, S. Carrasco, R. Revilla, M. Joy
Issue: 104-1 (42-57)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: commercial category, conformation, colour, fat depot, joints

To prospect the diversification of lamb production in Aragón, forty-two single male lambs of Churra- Tensina breed were slaughtered at three different live-weights: 9-12 (suckling lamb), 20-24 (light lamb) or 28-35 kg (castrated lamb). Lambs were reared with their dams at pasture until slaughter, having light and castrated lambs access to concentrate. Lighter carcasses showed the greatest dressing percentage (53.8, 51.4 and 49.5%, for suckling, light and castrated lambs, respectively; P < 0.001), the worst conformation (O-, O+ and R; P < 0.001) and the lowest fatness degree (2, 2+ and 3; P < 0.001). Meat colour varied with slaughter weight (light, pink+ and red, P < 0.001), but fat colour was similar in the three lamb categories. The lightest animals reached the highest pelvic-renal (P < 0.001) and the lowest mesenteric-omental fat percentage (P < 0.001). Joints percentage of first commercial category was higher in the castrated lamb category (P < 0.05), and joints percentage of second commercial category was greater in the suckling lamb group (P < 0.05). The range of carcass characteristics found in the current study confirms the commercial viability of the three lamb categories, opening new production alternatives to the traditional light lamb.

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