An experiment was conducted to test the effect of age on the eating qualities of broiler chickens slaughtered at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 weeks of age for the Nigerian consumers. The birds that provided the meat for the experiment were raised conventionally. Thigh and drumstick meat of the ovenroasted chickens were subjected to a 15man tastepanel for sensory evaluation, using a rating scale of 1-10, to score for toughness, flavour, juiciness and general acceptability: like extremely, like moderately, not like or dislike, dislike moderately, dislike extremely. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in toughness among the 10, 11 and 12 weeks old broiler meat. The 8 and 9 weeks old broiler chicken meat were similar and scored significantly higher than the 7-week old chicken meat for toughness. The 7 weeks old broilers scored lowest (not like or dislike). These toughness scores were reflected in the general acceptability scores, where 10, 11 and 12 weeks groups were scored extremely liked. The 9 weeks group was also scored extremely liked although less tender in the toughness score. The 7 and 8 weeks old broiler meat were scored liked moderately in general acceptability. Juiciness scores exhibited no significant differences in the panelists' perception among the treatments, whereas in flavour perception the 12 weeks old broiler meat was liked extremely followed by 10 and 11 weeks old broiler meat which were similar and of equal flavour perception and liked moderately. Flavour perception of 7, 8, and 9 weeks old broilers were similar. Age had a profound effect on the meat texture and thus influenced acceptability.
Key Words: Broiler chickens, age, meat texture, eating qualities.
(Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences: 2002 8(3): 295-298)