Influence of Restricted Grazing Time Systems on Productive Performance and Fatty Acid Composition of Longissimus dorsi in Growing Lambs

  • Wang, Zhenzhen (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Chen, Yong (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Luo, Hailing (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Liu, Xueliang (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Liu, Kun (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2014.12.11
  • Accepted : 2015.02.13
  • Published : 2015.08.01


Fifty 3-month-old male Tan lambs (similar in body weight) were divided into 5 groups to investigate the effects of different restricted pasture grazing times and indoor supplementation on the productive performances and fatty acid composition of the intramuscular fat in growing lambs. The lambs grazed for different periods of time (12 h/d, 8 h/d, 4 h/d, 2 h/d, and 0 h) and received various amounts of supplementary feedings during the 120-day trial. Pasture dry matter intake (DMI), total DMI, average daily gains and the live body weights of the lambs were measured during the experiment. The animals were slaughtered at the end of the study, their carcass traits were measured, and their longissimus dorsi muscles were sampled to analyze the intramuscular fat (IMF) content and fatty acid profiles. The results indicated that the different durations of grazing and supplementary feedings affected the animal performances and the composition of fatty acids. Grazing for 8 h/d or 2 h/d with the corresponding supplementary concentrate resulted in lambs with higher body weights, carcass weights and IMF contents. Lambs with longer grazing times and less concentrate accumulated more healthy fatty acids such as conjugated linoleic acid and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and had higher n-3/n-6 ratios. Overall, a grazing allowance of 8 h/d and the corresponding concentrate was recommended to maintain a high quantity and quality of lamb meat.


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