Articles | Volume 48, issue 3
10 Oct 2005
 | 10 Oct 2005

Variation in the chemical composition of muscles in young pheasants during their growth

V. Večerek, P. Suchý, E. Straková, F. Vitula, and M. Mikundová

Abstract. The paper reports on the changes in the chemical composition of breast and thigh muscles in intensively fed chickens of common pheasant, discussing the results obtained from the perspective of the production of high-quality pheasant meat. Young pheasants were fed for 90 days. Unlike breast muscles, thigh muscles showed a significant (P ≤ 0.05) decrease in water content between Day 50 and Day 90 (falling from 757.20 to 728.61 g/kg) which was associated with increasing dry matter content in muscles (from 242.80 to 271.39 g/kg). From a dietetic point of view, one positive finding is that both breast and thigh muscles from young pheasants aged 40 - 90 days contained low levels of fat, ranging from 6.12 g/kg to 8.33 g/kg, and from 20.36 g/kg to 51.37 g/kg, respectively. However, at the end of the monitored period (i.e. between Day 70 and Day 90) fat content in muscles significantly increased (P ≤ 0.01). Differences between average levels of ash (minerals) in breast muscles during the monitored period were not statistically significant. The average levels of ash in thigh muscles decreased statistically very significantly (P ≤ 0.01) on Day 50 (11.75 g/kg). In breast muscles a statistically significant decrease (P ≤ 0.05) was detected on Day 90 (11.67 g/kg). The above-mentioned changes in the chemical composition of muscles in young pheasants may arise due to qualitative age-related changes such as decreasing proteosynthesis and enhanced fat biosynthesis in muscles. This conclusion is supported by profound changes in the parameters of chemical composition related to muscle dry matter which are presented in this paper.