Growth Performance, Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality of Boer-Cross Wether and Buck Goats Grazing Marshall Ryegrass

  • Solaiman, S. (Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tuskegee University) ;
  • Kerth, C. (Department of Animal Sciences, Auburn University) ;
  • Willian, K. (Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tuskegee University) ;
  • Min, B.R. (Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tuskegee University) ;
  • Shoemaker, C. (Department of Agronomy and Soils, Auburn University) ;
  • Jones, W. (Department of Animal Sciences, Auburn University) ;
  • Bransby, D. (Department of Agronomy and Soils, Auburn University)
  • Received : 2010.03.10
  • Accepted : 2010.08.05
  • Published : 2011.03.01


An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of castration on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality of goat kids. Fourteen Boer-cross buck and wether goat kids (n = 7; initial body weight (BW) $38.0{\pm}0.35\;kg$ and $34.8{\pm}0.35\;kg$, for bucks and wethers, respectively) were grazed on annual Marshall ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) for 56 days. Body weights were recorded after 4 h withdrawal from feed and water for two consecutive days, every 2 wk. After d 56, animals were harvested and hot carcass weight (HCW), cold carcass weight (CCW), dressing percent (DP), kidney and pelvic fat (KPF), longissimus muscle (LM) area, back fat (BF), and other carcass parameters were measured. Day 0 BW was used as a covariate for analyses. However, bucks were heavier than wethers at d 15 (p = 0.09), 42 (p = 0.001) and 56 (p = 0.001). Bucks had higher ADG (146 vs. 74 g/d; p = 0.001), HCW (21.2 vs. 18.8 kg; p = 0.06) and CCW (20.3 vs. 17.9 kg; p = 0.04) when compared with wether goats. Dressing percentage (51 vs. 47%; p = 0.06), KPF (0.44 vs. 0.16%; p = 0.02) and BF (0.41 vs. 0.21 cm; p = 0.05) were higher in wethers vs bucks, respectively; however, USDA live or carcass grades were similar. Longissimus muscle tissue from wethers and bucks were similar in darkness ($L^*$) and redness ($a^*$), but wethers had more (p = 0.02) yellow tint ($b^*$). Palmitic (C16:0), stearic (C18:0) and oleic (C18:1) acids were higher (p = 0.001) in muscle tissue from wethers compared to bucks. The saturated fatty acid (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) contents of muscle tissue were lower (p = 0.001) for bucks with no difference in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Longissimus muscle initial temperature was higher in bucks (p<0.04) and pH change post-mortem was similar for bucks and wethers. These results indicated that castration of young market goats reduced growth performance and produced carcasses with more fat and higher SFA.


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