Academic article

Effect of animal sex and time of slaughter on sensory quality of meat from Norwegian lamb

Mushi, D.E.; Eik, Lars Olav; Sørheim, Oddvin; Ådnøy, Tormod; Haugen, John-Erik

Publication details

Journal: Acta agriculturae Scandinavica. Section A, Animal science, vol. 58, p. 31–36–6, 2008

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Issue: 1

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 0906-4702
Electronic: 1651-1972

Open Access: none


Using 231 lambs, the effect of animal sex and time of slaughter on sensory quality of meat from Norwegian lamb was investigated. Three experiments were carried out to include common feeding systems and seasonal variation in slaughter for Norwegian lamb. The first experiment was conducted in September 2001 using 40 lambs subjected to grazing on the mountain ranges or cultivated lowland pastures. A follow up experiment was conducted during March and April 2002 using 107 lambs fed indoors by farmers. The third experiment was conducted during October and November 2003 using 84 lambs subjected to either ad libitum or restricted concentrate supplementation under stall-feeding. Except for the March/April experiment, meat from ewe lambs had sour odour scores comparable (P>0.05) to that of ram lambs. On the other hand, meat from ram lambs had higher (P>0.05) scores for sour taste than that of ram lambs irrespective of time of slaughter. Further, in all but March/April slaughter time, meat from ewe lambs were comparable (P>0.05) to that of ram lambs in metallic taste. Whereas meat from ewe lambs slaughtered in September had ram taste comparable to that of ewe lambs, meat from ewe lambs slaughtered in March/April and October/November had 1.2 units and 0.6 units lower (P<0.05) ram taste, respectively, than that from ram lambs. It is concluded that to avoid off-flavour in Norwegian lamb, ram lambs should be slaughtered no later than September and hence consumer demand for fresh lamb in winter, spring and summer should preferentially be met by marketing ewe lambs.