Effect of feeding regime during finishing on lamb welfare, production performance and meat quality

L.A. Aguayo-Ulloa, G.C. Miranda-de la Lama, M. Pascual-Alonso, K. Fuchs, J.L. Olleta, M.M. Campo, S. Alierta, M. Villarroel, G.A. María - Small Ruminant Research 111

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Lamb research out of Spain using 70 days old Rasa Aragonesa male lambs. Please note the groups were housed indoors for the trial.

What is the problem?

This study analyzed the effect of feeding regime on forty lambs in Spain to understand the different effects of more traditional finishing approaches compared to more intensive finishing. The research focused on lamb welfare, productivity, and meat quality.

What did the research involve?

One group was fed on barley grain and alfalfa hay rations (traditional). The other group was fed with a commercial pellet concentrate and straw in a typical feedlot (industrial).

What were the key findings?

Lamb welfare

• Traditionally finished had lower levels of stress, measured by levels of cortisol.

Productive trait results:

  • Industrial lambs had a more efficient productive performance with a better ADG and conversion. At the end of the period, finished lambs weighed 1.8kg more than traditional lambs.

Meat quality results:

  • Traditionally finished lambs had acceptable indicators of carcass and meat quality but required an additional week of finishing.
  • Carcass conformation and fattening grade were better for industrial lambs, but instrumental meat quality variables were similar between the two groups.

Final comment

The report concluded that “From the technical and economic points of view, the industrial system is more efficient but the traditional method has the added value of better welfare and a more sustainable and traceable system”.

2013 - Spain - L.A. Aguayo-Ulloa, G.C. Miranda-de la Lama, M. Pascual-Alonso, K. Fuchs, J.L. Olleta, M.M. Campo, S. Alierta, M. Villarroel, G.A. María - Small Ruminant Research 111
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