The effect of genotype and sex on growth and carcass traits of lambs

Marko Bizjak, Angela Cividini


Submitted 2020-07-24 | Accepted 2020-08-31 | Available 2020-12-01

The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of genotype and sex on growth and carcass traits of grazing lambs. A total of 32 lambs (16 Improved Jezersko-Solčava - JSR and 16 crossbreds with Texel - JSRT, 8 males and 8 females within each genotype) were included in the study. The lambs were grazed together with their dams from the beginning of the grazing period and had free access to commercial concentrate from the age of 10 days. Lambs were weaned at the average body weight of 22.9 kg. Feeding with a concentrate was finished when lambs achieved 35 kg of body weight and were slaughtered. Daily gains from birth to slaughter and from weaning to slaughter were calculated. Several carcass traits were determined. JSRT lambs had significantly higher daily gain from birth to slaughter, hot and cold carcass weights, and dressing percentages compared to JSR lambs. Carcass conformation was higher in JSRT than JSR carcasses. Also, carcasses of JSRT were shorter and wider than JSR carcasses. Rib eye muscle areas of JSRT lambs were significantly larger, and the colour was significantly lighter. Males had significantly higher average daily gain from birth to slaughter and from weaning to slaughter than females. Females had higher dressing percentages and subcutaneous and internal fatness scores than males. Females had significantly higher amount of kidney fat. The colour of males’ meat was significantly lighter than that of females. Crossbreeding with Texel rams improved growth and carcass traits of lambs, and males had better growth performance and several carcass traits than females.

Keywords: lambs, commercial crossbreeding, sex, growth, carcass trait


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