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The effect of live weight gain and live weight loss on body composition of Merino wethers: dissected muscle, fat, and bone



The effect of live weight gain and live weight loss on body composition of Merino wethers: dissected muscle, fat, and bone



Journal of Animal Science 70(6): 1819-1828



Sheep were slaughtered after live weight gain (LWG) and live weight loss (LWL) to evaluate the effect of different periods of normal and retarded growth on dissected carcass components. Thirty-five Merino wether sheep were allowed ad libitum access to the experimental diet of 80% alfalfa chaff and 20% cereal grain (17.23% CP and 18.10 MJ/kg of GE) to grow from 23.0 to 33.0 kg live weight and then fed to lose 10 kg at 133 g/d. Five animals were slaughtered at live weights of 23.0, 26.3, 29.6, and 33.0 kg during LWG and 29.6, 26.3, and 23.0 kg during LWL. Fleece-free empty BW was similar in both LWG and LWL animals at all common slaughter weights because of the lesser and greater weights of the alimentary tract contents and the fleece, respectively, in the LWL animals. Carcass weight or dissected side weight was greater in LWL animals at each common slaughter weight but significantly so (P less than .05) at the 23.0 kg live weight only. Total side muscle weight was similar in LWG and LWL animals at each common slaughter weight, but the proportion of muscle in the dissected side weight was lower (P less than .05) in LWL animals at 23.0 kg live weight. Total side fat, subcutaneous fat, intermuscular fat, and kidney and channel fat weights were all greater in LWL animals at each common slaughter weight, but significantly so (P less than .05) at the 23.0 kg live weight only. Total side bone weight was higher at both 26.3 kg (P less than .01) and 23.0 kg (P less than .05) in the LWL animals. Weight loss in young sheep mobilized more weight of muscle than fat from the carcass, whereas bone weight was constant.

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Accession: 002247515

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PMID: 1634406


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