Main content area

The type of forage and condensed tannins in dams’ diet: Influence on meat shelf life of their suckling lambs

Lobón, S., Sanz, A., Blanco, M., Ripoll, G., Joy, M.
Small ruminant research 2017 v.154 pp. 115-122
alpha-tocopherol, antioxidants, color, diet, ewes, forage, hay, intramuscular fat, lactating females, lactation, lambing, lambs, lipid peroxidation, males, meat, meat quality, pastures, permanent grasslands, proanthocyanidins, shelf life, slaughter weight, suckling, Spain
The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of the type of forage (Pasture vs. Hay) and the inclusion of quebracho (QUE vs. Control), a natural antioxidant, in the concentrate fed to lactating ewes on the meat quality of male and female suckling lambs. At lambing, 39 Churra Tensina lambs with their dams were distributed in groups; half of them had access to permanent pastures (Pasture; n=20) and the other half were stalled in pens indoors, receiving pasture hay ad libitum (Hay; n=19). Within each forage treatment, half of the ewes were daily fed a commercial concentrate with 10% of quebracho (as fed basis; SYLVAFEED ByPro Q, Spain) (QUE) and the other half a commercial concentrate without quebracho (Control). Suckling lambs were slaughtered at the target slaughter weight of 11–12kg.Results showed that Hay lambs had greater intramuscular fat, lightness (L*), yellowness (b*) and hue angle (H°), lower α-tocopherol content and similar lipid oxidation than Pasture lambs. The inclusion of quebracho increased L*, b*, H° and α-tocopherol content and reduced lipid oxidation, extending the meat shelf life more than one day. In conclusion, raising suckling lambs with their dams on pasture is an advisable system to produce meat with low intramuscular fat and high α-tocopherol content using natural resources fulfilling the consumer’s demands. The inclusion of quebracho in the dams’ concentrate would be recommended, because it improves the color and extends the meat shelf life of the suckling lamb.