Feeding Hay and Grain can Improve Carcass Quality of Angora Kids
Sales of goats for meat production is an important source of income for mohair producing flocks.. Recent studies of adult Angora wether goats have shown that :
However there is no information on :
on the quality and yield of Angora kid carcasses.
Objectives of the Study
To study the effects on the quality and acceptance of kid carcasses of :
Design of Study
A herd of 200 Australian Angora does grazing annual temperate pastures were mated and their pregnancy status was determined by ultrasound at 65 days after mating. From 100 days after mating does were fed :
Each treatment had 2 paddocks each with 1 dry doe, 3 single bearing does and 1 twin bearing doe.
Supplements were fed from 8 weeks before to 8 weeks after kidding. Crushed limestone, Ca(CO3)2 was added at a rate of 1.3% and thoroughly mixed with the grain. Both grain and hay were fed out on the ground according to normal farming practice. Rations were consumed quickly. No accumulation of uneaten hay or grain occurred. In June and July the pastoral conditions were poor and limited hay feeding of pregnant does in the pasture alone treatment became necessary.
At 20 weeks of age kids were slaughtered at a commercial abattoir. Carcass weight, carcass quality and commercial acceptance (determined by a wholesale butcher) were recorded.
Effect of treatments on pasture availability
The seasonal conditions were poor with a very late germination in mid June, pastoral conditions remained poor until late September and the spring finished abruptly in late November.
Effect of liveweight on kid carcass weight and quality
The mean and range of carcass parameters are shown in Table 1 and Figure 1.
Table 1. The mean and the range in liveweight and carcass weight of Angora kids slaughtered at 20 weeks of age after grazing on annual pastures.
Tissue depth over the 13th rib increased with increasing liveweight. The heavier carcasses had 6 mm of tissue at the GR site, considered ideal by butchers.
Figure 1. The carcass weight and liveweight of male and female Angora kids slaughtered at 5 months of age.
Effects of treatments on kid carcass weight
When no grain was fed:
Grain feeding affected carcass weight;
These effects correspond with changes in kid liveweight.
Figure 2. The effect of feeding barley grain from 8 weeks before kidding to 8 weeks after kidding to does grazing pasture and the effect of rearing status on carcass weight of Angora kids slaughtered at 5 months of age.
The effect of treatment and rearing status on commercial acceptance of kid carcasses
Grain feeding affected the proportion of carcasses acceptable to the commercial kid meat market in Melbourne. The numbers of kids assessed as unsuitable with either low carcass weight or low body condition score are given in Table 2.
Table 2. The effect of feeding whole barley grain and of feeding hay on the commercial acceptability of carcasses of Angora kids slaughtered at 20 weeks of age. The percentage of carcasses assessed by a wholesale butcher as being too light or too low in body condition are shown
These results showed that:
This study provides a number of significant commercial observations that should improve the management and commercial returns of goat breeders and meat wholesalers:
The results suggest that if kids are being sold for meat production then the feeding or selling strategy of kids reared as twins needs to be significantly different to the strategies used for kids reared as singles.
Clearly the practical application of the results will depend on seasonal and environmental conditions and on obtaining higher prices for premium carcasses. The data will allow farmers and advisers to make more informed decisions on the likely liveweight and carcass weight responses when considering whether to feed cereal grain and hay supplements to flocks of grazing reproducing does.
Agriculture Victoria, The Australian Mohair Research Foundation Ltd. and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation are thanked for funding this research.
The full report of this experiment can be found in McGregor, B.A. (1996). Proc. Aust. Soc. Anim. Prod. 21: 135-138.
© 2000 B.A.McGregor