The effects of the slaughter season (winter and spring) and the age at slaughter (45 and60 days) on the carcass characteristics and physico-chemical quality of meat were inves-tigated on 40 Leccese lambs. In each season, 20 lambs were subdivided into two groupscorresponding to the experimental ages. All lambs received maternal milk and a supple-mentation of hay and commercial concentrate from 30 days to slaughter. The ewes werefed a basal mixed diet (unifeed) and commercial concentrate and were allowed to graze for5 h a day on polyphytic cultivated grassland. The increase of the lambs’ slaughter age from45 to 60 days resulted in an improvement in live weight, some commercial cuts (shoulderand loin), the majority of the carcass measurements, adiposity and conformation of shoul-der and leg and the muscle/fat ratio. Intramuscular collagen properties were also affectedby slaughter age. Considering the slaughter seasons, the best results have been obtained inspring and have been maximised in lambs slaughtered at 60 days that showed the greatestlive weight (16 kg), good percentages of commercial cuts and carcass measurements, thegreater levels of adiposity and better conformations of shoulder and leg and the lowestWarner–Bratzler (WB) shear force, without substantial difference in relation to colorimet-ric indices of meat. In conclusion, age and season of slaughter should be considered for thetraditional production of light lambs. Lambs slaughtered in spring at 60 days of age showedthe better characteristics of the carcasses and quality of meat.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.smallrumres.2013.05.006|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000323358100015|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-84881232174|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|