Carcass and meat quality characteristics of lambs reared in different seasons
Abstract. Thirty-six Kivircik male lambs were used to determine the effects of rearing season (winter rearing – WR; spring–summer rearing – SSR; and autumn rearing – AR) on carcass and meat quality characteristics. Average daily gain in the period 0–134 days, final weight, cold carcass weight and real dressing percentage were higher in WR lambs than lambs from SSR and AR groups. Furthermore, SSR and AR lambs did not show significant differences for these traits (P > 0.05). WR lambs had the highest values in terms of back fat thickness, subjective carcass fatness score and fat percentage in pelvic limb, which gives information about the carcass fatness. Final meat pH, expressed juice and meat lightness 1 h after cutting were higher for SSR lambs than for WR and AR lambs. SSR lambs had the lowest scores in terms of flavour intensity, flavour quality and overall acceptability in the sensory evaluation panel. In conclusion, WR lambs yielded better carcass quality than SSR and AR lambs. When the rearing season is to be decided, the higher carcass quality of WR lambs and the lesser appreciation of meat of SSR lambs by consumers should be considered.