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Effects and interactions of origin of sheep in Ethiopia (Highland vs Lowland areas), feeding, and lengths of rest and feeding on harvest measures

Merera, C., G. Abebe, A. Sebsibe, and A. L. Goetsch

Journal of Applied Animal Research 37:33-42. 2010

Yearling sheep from Highland (H) and Lowland (L) areas of Ethiopia were used to determine effects and interactions of animal origin, feeding, and lengths of rest and feeding on harvest measures. The fat-tail indigenous H sheep used is thought to be an Arsi-Bale genotype, and the fat-rump indigenous L sheep genotype was the Black Head Ogaden. Ten sheep of each origin were rested for 1, 2, or 3 days (R1, R2, and R3, respectively) after arrival at the abattoir and before slaughter, with ad libitum availability of grass hay and water and an overnight fast preceding slaughter. Eighteen to 20 sheep of each origin were subjected to feeding periods 2, 4, or 6 wk in length (F2, F4, and F6, respectively), during which time grass hay was consumed ad libitum and a concentrate supplement was provided at 200 g/day per animal (dry matter basis). There was an interaction (P<0.05) between origin and the linear effect of feeding period length in average daily gain, with a much greater value for H-F2 compared with other treatments (209, 120, 125, 118, 90, and 113 g/day for H-F2, H-F4, H-F6, L-F2, L-F4, and L-F6, respectively). Hot carcass weight increased linearly with increasing length of rest (P<0.05), with a tendency (P<0.09) for greater change for H vs L animals, and the effect (P<0.05) of feeding vs rest tended (P<0.16) to be greater for H sheep (8.09, 8.34, 8.73, 7.88, 8.19, 8.02, 9.08, 8.54, 9.13, 8.17, 8.03, and 8.57 kg for H-R1, H-R2, H-R3, L-R1, L-R2, L-R3, H-F2, H-F4, H-F6, L-F2, L-F4, and L-F6, respectively). There were no appreciable treatment effects on carcass pH or instrumental color measures. In conclusion, there is considerable opportunity to increase carcass weight of H by use of periods of rest after arrival at the abattoir and before slaughter longer than 1 day. Moreover, a short period of feeding, such as 2 wk, can be employed with H to markedly increase carcass weight.


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