Ram lambs are favoured in sheep production systems for their faster growth rates compared to ewe, castrate and cryptorchid lambs (Fisher et al.2010). The meat from ram lambs has been associated with poorer tenderness and colour characteristics when compared to the meat from ewe lambs of the same breed (Johnson et al. 2005; Craigie et al. 2012) but, the results across studies are inconsistent with some studies reporting no difference in meat quality between the sexes (Navajas et al. 2008, Kerslake et al. 2012). In a study by Rousset-Akrim et al. (1997), seven-month old male lambs had undesirable meat quality characteristics compared to three-month old male lambs suggesting that age of the lambs and the attainment of puberty are likely to influence the meat quality when comparing between sex classes.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 73, Hamilton, 68-70, 2013
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