Pre-weaning growth performance and carcass traits of Awassi and Chios-Awassi lambs
One hundred and three lambs (26 Chios-Awassi (CA) and 77 Awassi (AA)) were used to evaluate the effect of crossbreeding on growth performance, body dimensions and carcass characteristics. At weaning, 8 CA and 8 AA male lambs were randomly selected to examine carcass traits. Crossbred CA lambs were heavier at birth than their AA counterparts, while average daily gain (ADG) and weaning weights were not affected by genotype. CA lamb genotype had greater diagonal body length, hip height and heart girth than AA lambs. Hot and cold carcass weight, dressing percentage, body length, leg length, maximum shoulder width, and width behind shoulder were greater in CA lambs compared with AA lambs. AA lambs had significantly heavier fat tail and leg cut weights, while shoulder cut weights were heavier in the CA lambs. CA lambs had greater rib fat depth and tissue depth thickness than AA lambs. Longissimus muscle area was significantly greater in CA than in AA lambs. In conclusion, CA lambs had greater birth weights, body dimensions and dressing percentage than AA lambs. Additionally, aside from the tail and leg cuts, carcass components were heavier in CA crossbred lambs.
Keywords: Carcass characteristics; crossbreeding; weaning weight