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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2009;22(6): 796-802.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2009.80428    Published online April 30, 2009.
The Effects of Docking on Growth Traits, Carcass Characteristics and Blood Biochemical Parameters of Sanjabi Fat-tailed Lambs
E. Nooriyan Sarvar, M. M. Moeini*, M. Poyanmehr, E. Mikaeli
Correspondence:  M. M. Moeini,
The effects of docking on growth traits, fattening performance, carcass characteristics and blood biochemical parameters were investigated using 24 fat-tailed Sanjabi single-born male lambs raised from a large commercial sheep herd. The lambs were randomly divided into two groups. One group (n = 12) were docked at two days of age with rubber-rings using an elastrator. The second group (n = 12) were left intact. After weaning (90 days), all lambs were moved to rustic rangelands for 40 days. Then all the lambs were fed concentrates ad libitum for 60 days during the fattening period. Growth traits, body weight and average daily gain (kg) were recorded at the end of the weaning and fattening periods. Blood biochemical parameters including urea, total protein, glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) were measured during the fattening period. Finally, at the end of the fattening period, eight lambs (4 intact and 4 docked lambs) were slaughtered in order to determine carcass characteristics. Fat-tail docking had no effect (p>0.05) on lamb growth from birth to weaning. Body weight and average daily gain of docked lambs were significantly higher (p<0.05) than for intact lambs at the end of the fattening period. There was no difference in carcass measurements between the two groups, except for chest depth and leg weight which were higher (p<0.05) in docked lambs. During the fattening period, cholesterol and LDL of docked lambs were less than in intact lambs (p<0.05). The current results indicated that docking with rubber rings causes an improvement in growth traits during the fattening period and leads to desirable carcass characteristics compared to intact lambs; interestingly, this procedure had a significant effect on the lowering of blood cholesterol and LDL of docked lambs.
Keywords: Blood Parameters; Carcass Characteristics; Fattening; Growth Traits; Lamb Docking

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