|Wildeus, S - VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY|
|Zerby, H - THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY|
|Collins, J - VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY|
Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science Southern Section Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2002
Publication Date: January 31, 2003
Citation: WILDEUS, S., ZERBY, H.N., TURNER, K.E., COLLINS, J.R. GROWTH AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS IN THREE HAIR SHEEP BREED LAMBS RAISED ON PASTURE AND HAY-BASED DIETS. AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANIMAL SCIENCE SOUTHERN SECTION MEETING. 2003. Technical Abstract: This experiment evaluated the use of forage-based diets for hair sheep lamb production. Barbados Blackbelly (BB), Katahdin (KA), and St. Croix (SC) ewe and wether lambs (n=36, 100 d of age) were allocated to a pasture or pen feeding group stratified by breed and sex in May. Pasture animals were maintained as one group on a native, predominantly tall fescue pasture (1.5 ha; 12-17% CP, 66-69% NDF, 36-38% ADF), subdivided for rotational grazing. Pen animals were allocated to 6 pens stratified by breed and separated by sex, and offered ad lib chopped alfalfa hay (16.6% CP, 60.3% NDF, 45.2% ADF). Both groups were supplemented with a corn-soybean mixture (16.5% CP) at .75% of BW. After168 d on trial animals were slaughtered. Data were analyzed for effects of breed, nutritional treatment, and sex. ADG was higher (P<.05) in pen (77 g/d) than on pasture (67 g/d), and higher (P<.01) in KA (84 g/d) and SC (75 g/d) than BB (56 g/d). Starting and final BW were higher (P<.01) in KA (31.4 and 45.5 kg, respectively) than SC (22.5 and 31.4 kg) and BB (24.5 and 31.0 kg). Dressing percent (overall 48.0%) was not affected (P>.1) by breed or treatment. Backfat was higher (P<.05) in pen (.45 cm) than pasture (.27 cm), and higher (P<.05) in KA (.50 cm) than BB (.23 cm) and SC (.36 cm). Ribeye area was larger (P<.01) in KA (10.9 cm2) than BB (8.3 cm2) and SC (7.1 cm2), but not after adjustment for carcass weight. Body wall thickness and quality score were also higher (P<.05) in KA (1.57 cm and 10.3, respectively) than SC (1.33 cm and 9.6) and BB (1.08 cm and 9.3). Hair sheep lambs achieved moderate rates of gain on high forage diets with limited supplementation, with some differences between breeds. The carcasses produced were too small for the traditional lamb market, but acceptable for ethnic niche markets.