Live animal and carcass characteristics of South African indigenous goats
Eighty-nine intact male, castrates and female South African indigenous goats in three age groups (0, 2 - 6 and 8 permanent incisors) and two pre-slaughter conditioning groups; namely, the non-conditioned which were slaughtered within three months of purchase and the pre-slaughter conditioned, which were slaughtered 6 - 10 months after purchase or birth were used. The effect of sex, age and pre-slaughter conditioning on live animal, carcass dimensions and carcass composition were evaluated. The goats were large with live weight, carcass weight and carcass dimensions in the range of the large breeds of southern Africa. They had a high lean and low fat content. Intact males were suited for high chevon yield because they were heavy, had a high lean and low fat content, and losses during dressing and chilling were reduced by improved nutrition. Goats between 2 - 6 teeth yielded heavy carcasses that were comparable to goats in the 8-teeth group, and had proportionately more lean and less carcass fat. The hind limb was ideal for high lean and low fat, high value cuts but the dorsal trunk was bony and yielded less lean. Pre-slaughter conditioning improved the overall size of the goats and reduced the losses during slaughter and chilling. It also improved the lean/bone and lean and fat/bone indices.
Keywords: Live weight, chest girth, dressing out percentage, carcass composition