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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502

Abstract

DE LA BARRA, R et al. Development of the Morphostructure and Meat Value in Chilota Lambs. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.4, pp.1538-1543. ISSN 0717-9502.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022012000400044.

Chilota sheep are typical of the Chiloé archipelago in southern Chile. The objectives of this study were: 1) To describe the development of the morphostructure of Chilota lambs in their first months of life using some variables that determine lamb meat value (zoometric traits and body weight) and 2) To determine the optimum slaughter age. Measurements were taken from 12 male single-born lambs. Body weight, Withers height; Perimeter of thorax, Chest depth, Shoulder point width and Body length were measured in each animal. The first measurements were taken at 7 days old, and the rest at 37, 67, 97, 127, 157 and 187 days old. The body weight variables and zoometric traits developed allometrically throughout the growth phase. The correlation coefficient between all the traits was very high, varying between 0.91 and 0.98. The zoometric variable that best predicted body weight was Perimeter of thorax (r2=0.93), which was fully developed in 90% of the animals at 97 days old. Maximum growth was recorded in all the studied variables during the first control month, days 7-37, but then it decreased gradually. This decrease was moderate until day 127, becoming very low from then on until end of the study. The optimum age for slaughtering fattened lambs is approximately four months, as from day 127 the daily growth rate slows down considerably, to 61.81 g/day, in comparison with the previous stage, which is 220.00 g/day. Therefore, the maintenance of lambs after four months is not productively efficient.

Keywords : Sheep; Postnatal development; Morphology; Body weight.

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