Performance and carcass characteristics of lambs fed a solution of cheese whey during feedlot and pre-slaughter lairage


R. Bras. Zootec.




ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate performance and carcass and meat characteristics of lambs fed a solution of cheese whey plus water (100 g kg−1 dry matter) (CW) during feedlot and pre-slaughter lairage. Data were analyzed as a 2 × 2 factorial (place – feedlot and slaughterhouse, food – water or CW). We evaluated the following treatments (feedlot/slaughterhouse): CW/CW, CW/water, water/CW, and control (water/water). The lambs were given a balanced diet for 70 days in the feedlot. Slaughter started 12 h after the animals arrived at the slaughterhouse. Dry matter intake, gain-to-feed ratio, average daily gain, and body weight of lambs fed CW were similar to those of control lambs. The water/CW group consumed less of this solution than the CW/CW group in the slaughterhouse. The CW supplied as a pre-slaughter supplement reduces the drip losses of lamb carcasses provided that the animals also consume it during the feedlot period. The other carcass characteristics (carcass weight, pH, subcutaneous fat thickness, and ribeye area) were similar among treatments. The meat characteristics (color, water holding capacity, cooking losses, and shear force) were similar among treatments. Whey cheese added to water can be used as an ingredient of the diet for lambs and as pre-slaughter supplement, since it does not change performance and improves carcass characteristics.

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