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Growth and body composition of Omani local sheep 1. Live-weight growth and carcass and non-carcass characteristics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2010

O. Mahgoub
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture, Sultan Quaboos University, PO Box 34, Al-khod 123, Sultanate of Oman
G. A. Lodge
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture, Sultan Quaboos University, PO Box 34, Al-khod 123, Sultanate of Oman
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Forty-five local Omani ram, wether and ewe lambs were reared from birth until slaughter at 18, 28 or 38 kg live weight (five of each ‘sex’ at each weight group) on an ad libitum concentrate diet and Rhodesgrass hay.

Ram lambs grew faster from birth and reached predetermined slaughter weights earlier than wether and ewe lambs. At 28 kg live weight, ram lambs had: heavier heads, feet, reticulo-rumens and livers; higher muscle and bone and lower fat proportions in the carcass; lower muscle: bone and higher muscle: fat ratios; higher proportions of carcass but lower non-carcass fat than had wether and ewe lambs. The head, feet, alimentary tract, liver and heart of Omani sheep grew at a lower rate; the skin grew at a similar rate and the carcass grew at a rate faster than empty body weight (EBW). Relative to EBW, muscle grew at a similar rate, fat faster and bone slower. Both carcass and non-carcass fats grew at a rate higher than that of the growth of EBW, with non-carcass fat growing at a higher rate than that of carcass fat. The growth rate of omental fat was the fastest followed by kidney, mesenteric, subcutaneous, tail, scrotal, intermuscular and pelvic fats respectively.

This study demonstrated that Omani sheep have good potential for growth if they are managed and fed satisfactorily. Omani sheep are early maturing for which reason it is recommended that they be slaughtered at lighter weights to avoid higher fat content in the carcass. Castration in Omani sheep is not recommended for production of meat lambs under intensive systems as it resulted in reduced growth rates and deposition of excess fat at lower slaughter weights.

Research Article
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 1994

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