A study on gastrointestinal tract characteristics of ram lambs at the same weights from six Turkish sheep breeds
A study was conducted, first, to compare the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), reticulo-rumens and intestinal capacities (relative to body weight) of ram lambs from six Turkish sheep breeds: Turkish Merino (TM, Anatolia Merino), Akkaraman (AK), Kıvırcık (KV), Awassi (AW), Karayaka (KY) and Morkaraman (MK), and second, to examine the influence of sheep breed on the pH of the digesta in the various segments (rumen, jejunum and caecum) of the GIT. Six ram lambs from each breed were slaughtered at 40.2 ± 0.80 kg liveweight. Lambs from the AK breed had a heavier GIT weight than the AW, KY or MK breeds. The weight of the full stomach was higher in AK lambs compared with the other lambs, except for KV lambs, while the relative weight of the empty stomachs was heavier in MK ram lambs than in TM, AW and KY lambs. The AK lambs had the highest relative empty intestinal weight. The relative weight of empty intestines was heavier in KV lambs than in KY lambs. The pH of the rumen content was higher in TM and AK lambs compared with KY and MK lambs, while the pH of the caecum content of KV lambs was higher than those of KY and MK lambs. In conclusion, significant differences were found among the six breeds in terms of some variables that were studied, although a higher proportional GIT weight in the fat-tail breeds such as the MK, AK and AW was not reflected in all components or in the pH of the GIT content.
Keywords: Native sheep breed, digestive system, rumen, small and large intestine, pH value