Indoor feeding combined with restricted grazing time improves body health, slaughter performance, and meat quality in Huang-huai sheep

  • Yafeng Huang (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Mengyu Zhao (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Xiaoan Zhang (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Huiqing Wei (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Lumeng Liu (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Zijun Zhang (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Xiao Cheng (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Guanjun Wang (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University) ;
  • Chunhuan Ren (College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2023.07.06
  • Accepted : 2023.10.11
  • Published : 2023.11.01


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of three feeding systems, i.e., indoor feeding (CON), indoor feeding with 4-h daily access to grazing artificial pasture (ITGP), and indoor feeding with 8-h daily access to grazing artificial pasture (IEGP), on the plasma antioxidant and immunological capacity, slaughter characteristics, meat quality and economic efficiency of Huang-huai lambs. Methods: Thirty-three healthy Huang-huai rams with similar body weight (approximately 5 mo of age, 28.96±1.01 kg) were assigned equally to three experimental groups. When finished fattening, six lambs from each group were collect blood samples for plasma analyses and then slaughtered to determine slaughter characteristics and obtain biceps brachii muscle for further analysis of meat quality and fatty acid profile. Results: Compared to CON group, animals submitted to ITGP and IEGP groups resulted in greater contents of serum glutathione peroxidase, immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, and IgM), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), n-6 PUFA, and PUFA/saturated fatty acid (FA) ratio and lower palmitic /oleic acid ratio (p<0.05). Moreover, animals in ITGP group exhibited a higher (p<0.05) loin eye area, content of meat crude protein (CP), and eicosetrienoic acid compared to CON group, while slaughter performance was superior (p<0.05) to that of the IEGP group. The economic efficiency of ITGP group was 70.12% higher than that of CON group, while the IEGP group exhibited a decrease of 92.54% in economic efficiency compared to the CON group. Conclusion: Restricted grazing time combined with indoor feeding was more effective in conferring superior body health, carcass traits and economic efficiency in Huang-huai lambs, as well as higher CP content and healthier FA composition in the resulting meat.



This research was funded by Central Committee Guide Local Science and Technology Development Special project of Anhui Province (22239030), Anhui Agricultural University's Scientific Research Funding Projects for Introducing and Stabling Talents (rc392009), Application Test of Comprehensive Nutrient Balance Production Technology of 'Herbivorous Livestock - Planting Industry' in Agricultural Areas (20339029), and China Agriculture Research System of MOF and MARA (CARS-38).


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