Effects of gender and age on performance and slaughter and carcass characteristics of Boer × Spanish goats
M. R. Cameron, S. P. Hart, T. Sahlu, C. Gilchrist, S. W. Coleman, and A. L. GoetschJournal of Applied Animal Research 20:141-155. 2001.
Goats in the U.S. are not marketed for meat at a standard age or weight. Previously, all types of goats in the U.S. were used for meat, including cull dairy goats and Angoras, as well as the Spanish goat. Presently, the number of crossbred Boer goats is increasing rapidly. Growth rate and mature size are greater for Boer goats and their crosses compared with Spanish goats and Angoras. There has been little experimentation concerning factors influencing growth performance and harvest traits of meat goats. Thus, an experiment was conducted to determine influences of gender and age on growth performance and harvest traits of Boer crossbred meat goats. Wether, female, and male Boer × Spanish goats (17, 16, and 17 kg initial body weight, respectively) consumed a high concentrate diet from 116 to 340 days of age, with harvest at 56-day intervals. Average dry matter intake for the entire experiment was lowest among genders for females (674, 534, and 682 g/day), and average daily gain was greater for males and wethers than for females (119, 89, and 138 g/day for wethers, females, and males, respectively). Dressing percentage was similar among genders and lowest among ages at 116 days (42, 49, 50, 51, and 51% for 116, 172, 228, 284, and 340 days, respectively). Internal fat mass was lower for males versus wethers and females (6.9, 7.0, and 5.1% of empty body weight for wethers, females, and males, respectively) and increased with increasing age (2.3, 5.4, 6.3, 7.7, and 9.9% of empty body weight; 0.32, 1.08, 1.60, 2.77, and 4.08 kg at 116, 172, 228, and 340 days of age, respectively). Carcass scores and grades were similar among genders. Among genders, males had the greatest carcass percentages of separable bone (27, 27, and 29%) and lean (50, 50, and 54%) and were lowest in fat (18, 20, and 13% for wethers, females, and males, respectively). Carcasses were 39, 30, 27, 23, and 21% bone; 7, 18, 15, 21, and 22% fat; and 49, 49, 51, 54, and 54% lean at 116, 172, 228, 284, and 340 d, respectively. In summary, with moderate rates of growth, differences among genders of Boer × Spanish goats in performance and harvest traits were not affected by age from approximately 4 to 11 months. Carcass composition changed appreciably from 4 to 6 months but varied much less thereafter. Internal fat mass as a percentage of body weight increased steadily as age increased, with weight at each age being nearly as great as that of carcass fat.
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