Growth and body composition of Omani local sheep: 2. Growth and distribution of musculature and skeleton
Mahgoub, O.; Lodge, G.A.
Animal Production 58(3): 373-379
ISSN/ISBN: 0003-3561 DOI: 10.1017/s0003356100007315
Distribution of tissue weight in the musculature and skeleton was studied in ram, whether and ewe Omani sheep raised under an intensive management system and slaughtered over the range 18 to 38 kg live weight. Ram lambs had higher muscle weight in the forequarters than whether and ewe lambs whereas the latter 'sexes' had heavier hindquarters and slightly more muscle in the muscle groups of proximal hind- and forelimbs and those surrounding the spinal column. Some of the neck region muscles, e.g. m. splenius and m. longissimus capitis et atlantis, were more developed in ram than in wether and ewe lambs. The proportions in the side muscle weight of some muscles (mainly in the hindquarter) decreased with increased slaughter weight whereas others (mainly in forequarter) increased, with the majority of the muscles showing no significant slaughter weight effects. The magnitude of change in proportions of individual muscles with increased slaughter weight was small and unlikely to have a commercial impact on meat production from Omani sheep. As a proportion of total carcass bone, the axial skeleton and the hindlimb decreased with increased slaughter weight whereas the forelimb did not show a significant change. Rain lambs had heavier individual bones than wether and ewe lambs and higher proportions of the axial skeleton and lower proportions of the hindlimb than wethers at 28 kg live weight. There were few differences between the various 'sexes' in length, width or circumference of bones. Except for the 12th rib, individual bones, in all sexes, grew at a rate lower than empty body weight. It is suggested that future improvement of Omani sheep should take into consideration the high proportion of bone in the carcass of these animals as well as the relatively higher proportion of bone in the limbs than in the axial skeleton.