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Carcass composition in male fallow deer: age and castration effects on dissected tissue distribution

  • B. W. Hogg (a1), L. M. Catcheside and G. J. K. Mercer (a1)

Abstract

Twenty-eight male fallow deer (Dama dama), 14 entire and 14 castrated (seven each 1- and 2-year-old) were slaughtered and their carcasses jointed. Each joint was separated into venison, trim A (low visible fat, diced pieces), trim B (pieces suitable only for mincing), waste and bone. Castration had a significant and cumulative effect on live and carcass weights. At 1 year of age castrated males were 80 g/kg lighter in live weight; at 2 years this difference had increased to 119 g/kg. The pattern for differences in hot and cold carcass weights was similar, being 66 and 148 g/kg lighter at 1 and 2 years old, respectively.

Castration caused small but significant shifts in the proportions of the primal joints, and the proportions of venison, trim A and trim B. Castrated males had smaller neck (9 g/kg) and saddle (10 g/kg) joints, but 18 g/kg larger legs. In the whole carcass they contained 12 g/kg more venison, but correspondingly less trim A and trim B.

Older animals had higher proportions of venison and lower proportions of bone. Venison distribution altered with age, but this was mainly a reflexion of changes in joint proportions.

The overall effect of castration was to reduce carcass weights (on which producers are paid) and reduce venison production proportionately to 0-97 and 0-88 of that achieved in 1- and 2-year-old entire males respectively. In some market situations castration may be an acceptable method of producing venison outside of the normal peak production, but the reduced production would require higher schedule prices to be economically viable for the producer.

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References

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Keywords

Carcass composition in male fallow deer: age and castration effects on dissected tissue distribution

  • B. W. Hogg (a1), L. M. Catcheside and G. J. K. Mercer (a1)

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