Growth performance, carcass and meat quality of Karayaka female lambs born in different seasons
The aim of this study was to determine growth performance, carcass and meat quality of Karayaka female lambs born in different seasons. Winter born (breeding season; n=15) and autumn born (out of the breeding season; n=15) singleton female lambs were used in the study. Birth and slaughter weights of lambs in both groups were similar, but the weaning weight of the autumn born lambs was higher ( P<0.05). The autumn born lambs had lower carcass yield, lung, spleen and gastrocnemious muscle weights ( P<0.05), but higher liver, kidney, empty reticulo-rumen, empty small intestine, internal fat, suprarenal fat weights and a higher fat thickness over the longissimus dorsi muscle ( P<0.05). Additionally, the winter born lambs had higher cooking loss, drip loss and shear force values ( P<0.05), but lower dry matter and intramuscular fat ( P<0.05) in longissimus dorsi and semitendinosus muscles. There were significant differences between both groups in terms of meat colour characteristics ( P<0.05) except b* values for longissimus dorsi at 1 h and for semitendinosus at 24 h. The results suggest that Karayaka female lambs born in winter and autumn seasons have different meat quality parameters and growth patterns at pre- and post-weaning.