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Relationship of body condition score and live weight with body composition in mature Churra ewes

  • P. Frutos (a1), A. R. Mantecón (a1) and F. J. Giráldez (a1)

Abstract

Thirty-five mature Churra ewes, ranging in live weight from 30·3 to 52·6 kg and in body condition score from 1·25 to 4·00 were used to study the relationship between body condition score (BCS), live weight (LW) and body composition and fat distribution in ewes of this breed, which is one of the major sheep breeds of northern Spain. The procedure at slaughter and at subsequent dissection was designed to partition each body into two components, carcass and ‘non-carcass’. Right side carcasses and ‘non-carcass’ components were used to analyse the chemical composition. From the left side of the lumbar region a joint was cut and dissected into muscle, bone, subcutaneous and intermuscular fat. According to the results obtained, omental fat represented the highest proportion of total internal fat regardless of the level of fatness. Distribution of internal fat was similar to that observed in other milk production breeds. Regressions on LW explained more of the variation than those on BCS for individual internal fat depots and chemically determined ‘non-carcass’ fat. The prediction of total body fat afforded by LW was better than that provided by BCS. The subcutaneous and intermuscular fat depots in the lumbar joint were well correlated with BCS, carcass fat and total fat in the body, validating the use of this region for assessing BCS in Churra ewes. Nevertheless, the correlation coefficient with the omental depot was not statistically significant. The results of this study suggest that BCS was not as accurate for estimating body composition and fat depots in mature Churra ewes as has been shown previously in other breeds. The single most effective prediction index was LW. However, the utilization of both BCS and LW together provided more accurate estimations.

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Keywords

Relationship of body condition score and live weight with body composition in mature Churra ewes

  • P. Frutos (a1), A. R. Mantecón (a1) and F. J. Giráldez (a1)

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