Nigerian Journal of Animal Production

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The West African Dwarf Sheep II. Carcass Traits Mutton Quality

A Dettmers, JK Loosli, BBA Taiwo, JA Nkemeatu


Carcasses of thirty African Dwarf ewes had a yield of 42.5%, about 5mm backfat thickness and a loin eye of about 8cm2 primal cuts made up of 85% of the carcass. The best carcasses came from ewes slaughtered between two and four years of age. Average composition of retail cuts was 66.5% muscle, 26.5% bone and 7.0% fat.

Young ewes were superior to young rams both in dressing percent (yield) and primal cuts. The ewes dressed 44% as compared to 40%; their total retail cuts contained 67% muscle and 26% bone against 65% and 28% respectively for rams.

Compared with mutton sheep of the temperate zone the West African Dwarf stand only 4/5 as high and are 2/3 as long, while weighing only 1/4 to 1/3 that of European sheep. Yet the leg, the preferred cut, was 36% of the dressed carcass as compared to European mutton.

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