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Partial substitution of barley for corn: effect on “Hamra” lamb growth performance, carcass and meat characteristics


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of two kinds of given diets on growth, on some carcass characteristics and on the major meat nutrients of local Algerian sheep breed. The investigated sheep breed called “Hamra” is one of the most famous breeds in Algeria. Among one 106 animals, 40 lambs were selected according to their age, similar livestock characteristics and body weight. The samples were divided into two equal groups: control and experimental lambs according to their live weight; 24.63 ± 0.47 and 24.35 ± 0.64 kg, respectively. Both groups were fed with two varieties of concentrate diets: corn diet based for the first group of control lambs (n = 20) and corn substituted by barley (Variety Saïda 183) for the second experimental group lambs (n = 20). Both diets were supplemented with 200 g straw of barley/animal/ration. The chemical analysis of diets showed an elevated crude fibre content in the commercial concentrate. However, the experimental concentrate contained higher amounts of calcium. After 59 days of fattening, no significant difference was found among the two studied groups on the growth performance (p > 0.05), showing the same final body weight. In contrast, a significant difference was found (p ≤ 0.001) in relation to the cost of the given diet. This could affect the price of the produced meat. At 37.85 ± 0.78 kg live weight, 10 lambs fed with experimental concentrate were slaughtered. The dressing percentage was 46.65 %, with 2.49 % of carcass shrink. Furthermore, an interesting percentage of total muscle was obtained (63.73 %) with a good carcass conformation scoring 9.56. Compared to other breed sheep, Hamra carcass could be considered as the most valuable one economically.

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Correspondence to Kaddour Ziani.

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Ziani, K., Khaled, M.B. Partial substitution of barley for corn: effect on “Hamra” lamb growth performance, carcass and meat characteristics. Trop Anim Health Prod 48, 517–524 (2016).

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  • Hamra lamb
  • Feeding cost
  • Growth performance
  • Meat
  • Carcass characteristics