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Effects of age of Boer × Alpine wethers on growth and carcass traits

J. Luo, T. Sahlu, and A. L. Goetsch

E (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK

Fourteen Boer × Alpine wethers (14 ± 0.6 kg initial BW) were used to determine effects of age on feed intake, growth, and carcass traits. From 14 to 31 wk of age (Phase 1), all wethers consumed ad libitum a 20% CP diet; wethers raised to 50 wk of age consumed ad libitum a diet with 16% CP from 38 to 50 wk (Phase 2). Dry matter intake and BW gain were greater (P < 0.01) in Phase 1 than in Phase 2 (DMI: 1.27 vs 1.18 kg/d; ADG: 225 vs 118 g/d). The ratio of ADG to DMI also differed (P < 0.01) between phases (0.18 in Phase 1 vs 0.10 in Phase 2). Dressing percentage (50 vs 56%), percentage of carcass fat (16.2 vs 20.1%), and the lean to bone ratio (2.45 vs 2.77) were lower (P 0.05) at 31 vs 50 wk of age. Leg cut percentage (31.1 vs 28.4%), carcass bone percentage (24.0 vs 20.6%), and backfat thickness (0.44 vs 0.30 cm) were greater (P 0.05) at 31 than 50 wk and longissimus dorsi area (14.5 vs 18.0 cm2) was greater (P = 0.06) at 50 wk. Carcass lean percentage (58.2 vs 57.1%) was similar (P > 0.10) between ages. In conclusion, these results depict substantial decreases in ADG and efficiency of feed utilization when Boer × Alpine wethers were reared to 50 wk vs 31 wk of age, which must be compared with magnitudes of change in carcass traits such as dressing percentage, lean meat percentage, leg cut percentage, and longissimus dorsi area when determining optimal slaughter age.


 

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