This study was conducted to evaluate and determine the carcass pH and color of Horro rams under different management practices at Ambo University. A total of 24 Horro rams were randomly assigned to the following three treatments: T1 (Day 1 rest before slaughter), T2 (Rhodes hay ad libitum) and T3 (Rhodes hay ad libitum + 400 g concentrate per head/day). Carcass pH was determined at 15 min, 24, 48, and 72 h post slaughter using pH Meter. Data were analyzed using the General linear model procedures of Statistical Analysis System Software 9.2 (SAS, 2009). The ultimate carcass pH of concentrate supplemented Horro rams (pH24 = 5.67) was lower (P < 0.001) than rams fed on Rhodes hay ad libitum and animals slaughtered immediately after day 1 rest of transportation to experimental site (5.88, and 5.87, respectively). The majority of sensory panelists (> 62%) reported that carcass color was bright red for supplemented Horro rams and red color for those fed on Rhodes hay ad libitum and slaughtered immediately after one day rest of transportation. Carcass darkness/discoloration was not observed up to four days post slaughter from values of carcass pH, color estimation of this experiment and from comparisons of carcass pH measures with values in the literatures. Concentrate supplementation had significant and positive influence on carcasses pH and color of Horro rams. This study disproved the dispute or claim about the problem of early darkening of carcasses of highland animals. Thus, management practices like optimum feeding along sufficient rest after transportation would improve the carcass pH and color.
Key words: Carcass, pH, color, concentrate, Horro lambs.
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