Effect of feeding on different levels of crushed cactus in total mixed rations on fattening performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality of Awassi sheep
Cactus feeding in sheep and meat quality
Keywords:Cactaceae, Sheep, Fattening performance, Carcass characteristics, Meat quality
A ten week feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of feeding total mixed rations containing different levels of cactus on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality of Awassi sheep. Twelve lambs with initial body weight of 28.67±2.29 kg and 120 days average age were distributed in complete randomized design into three dietary groups according to crushed cactus level (T1 = 0%, T2 = 10%, and T3 = 15%) in four replicates. At the end of the feeding period three lambs from each dietary group were randomly slaughtered to determine the carcass characteristics and meat quality. The means of the tested parameters were tested for significance using analysis of variance followed by least significant differences at 95% confidence level. Lambs fed T3 diet showed numerically higher (P > 0.05) total weight gain (15.3 kg) and average daily gain (219.1 g). T2 group had numerically higher (P > 0.05) hind quarter perimeter (D), maximum width carcass (Wr), chest depth (Th), and pelvic limb length (F) than T1 and T3. Left half carcass weight (10.5 kg), anterior rib (8.3%), pelvic limb (36.3%), and first quality (66.4%) were numerically higher (P > 0.05) in T2. Results of meat quality presented numerically higher (P > 0.05) water holding capacity (23.7) and lower cooking loss percent (30.6%) in T3, these results were reflected on sensory evaluation as well where T3 recorded significantly higher (P < 0.05) scores in texture and flavor of meat. Therefore, adding crushed cactus up to 15% level in diet of sheep could affect the carcass characteristics and meat quality differently.
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