Role of dietary concentrates on the venison quality of Sika deer (Cervus nippon)
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of feed concentrate level on carcass characteristics and meat quality of sika deer (Cervus nippon). A total of 16 sika deer (mean bodyweight 30 kg) were randomly assigned to one of two treatments, namely Treatment 1 (T1): fed concentrate at 1.5% of total bodyweight); and Treatment 2 (T2): fed concentrate ad libitum. Both groups had free access to roughage (hay) and water. Each group was fed concentrate twice daily (at 09h00 and 16h00) for eight months. The fat concentration of venison from deer in T2 was significantly greater than that of T1. However, fat loss through cooking, shear force, and pH did not differ significantly between the two groups. Water-binding capacity of venison from deer in T1 was significantly greater (2.83%) than that of T2. Colour parameters a* (redness) and b* (yellowness) were significantly greater for venison from T2 than for deer in T1. Likewise, cholesterol concentration of venison from deer in T2 was significantly greater than for deer in T1. However, the cholesterol concentration in venison from deer that were subjected to both treatments was less than that of meat from other livestock species. In conclusion, the results of this study provide a baseline to estimate fodder cost standards to produce sika deer venison, and would aid commercial deer farmers in developing optimal management strategies for venison production.
Keywords: carcass composition, concentrate feeding, meat quality