Performance, Carcass Characteristics, Blood Parameters, Feed Intake and Digestibility of Moghani and Romanov-Moghani Crossbreed Fattening Lambs Fed with Different Energy Levels

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Animal Science, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran.

2 Animal Science Research Department, Ardabil Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Ardabil, Iran


Introduction: Moghani sheep, one of the dominant meat breeds among Iranian sheep, is known for its good body size, resistance to changes in weather conditions, and capacity to produce heavy-weight lambs. The Romanov breed is known worldwide for its early sexual maturity, long breeding season, and high productivity. Among high-yielding breeds, the Romanov breed achieves higher twinning and fertility, higher weight of ewes, optimal shelf life of lambs, and heavier final weight of lambs. During past years, increasing productivity of Iranian native sheep breeds, including the Moghani breed, has been implemented through cross-breeding with high-yielding foreign breeds such as the Romanov breed to improve growth and twining rates and reduce size of the fat-tail. Crossbreeding is a way to improve poor production and reproductive characteristics of livestock. Due to the lack of information regarding the fattening performance and carcass characteristics of the Romanov-Moghani crossbreeds, the aim of this study was to investigate the fattening performance carcass characteristics, blood parameters, feed intake and digestibility of Moghani and Romanov-Moghani crossbreed fattening lambs under diets with different energy levels.
Materials and Methods: This research was conducted using 24 male lambs (10 Moghani lambs and 10 Romanov-Moghani cross-bred lambs) as a factorial design with 4 experimental groups and 6 replications (lambs) in each group. The duration of the experiment was 75 days. The experimental groups in this research include: 1) Moghani lambs fed low energy diet, 2) Moghani lambs fed high energy diet, 3) Romanov-Moghani lambs fed low energy diet, 4) Romanov-Moghani lambs fed high energy diet. A rumen-protected energy powder (Energizer RP-10, IFFCO, Johor, Malaysia) was used to increase the energy level in high-energy diets. Fattening performance was measured by weighing the lambs every two weeks. At the end of the experiment, all the lambs were slaughtered and the carcass characteristics, including hot carcass percentage, cold carcass percentage, tail percentage, and back fat thickness were measured. After 24 hours of storage in 4ºC, back-fat thickness between the 14th and 13th vertebras were measured with a digital caliper. Blood samples were drawn from the jugular vein of all lambs 3 hours after feed consumption, and the samples were immediately centrifuged at 3500 rpm for 15 minutes then the plasma samples were frozen at -20 ºC till analysis day determining concentrations of blood parameters including glucose, blood urea nitrogen, cholesterol, triglyceride, total protein, albumin, and globulin were determined using commercial kits and spectrophotometer. All the data were analyzed in the form of a completely random design and factorial experiment using the GLM method for statistical analysis.
Results and Discussion: The results showed that Moghani lambs had significantly more tail percentage and lower tailless carcass percentage than Romanov-Moghani mixed lambs. Feeding a diet with a higher level of energy by feeding protected rumen fat decreased the percentage of the tail and increased the percentage of the carcass without the tail. Moghani lambs fed with high-energy diet had the highest back fat thickness compared to all groups. On the other hand, the average daily weight gain was only influenced by the energy level of the diet. Based on the results, Romanov-Moghani crossbred lambs had a higher weight gain than Moghani lambs, and feeding fat supplement improved livestock performance. Due to the fact that no significant difference was observed in the feed consumption of lambs due to fat supplement feeding, therefore, the better fattening performance of lambs in the groups fed with fat supplement can be attributed to the increase in energy intake in these animals as well as the higher efficiency of the metabolic energy conversion of fats compared to carbohydrates (McDonald et al., 2012). Based on the obtained results, Romanov-Moghani cross-bred lambs had a higher weight gain than pure lambs, and also fat supplement feeding improved the performance of livestock. Therefore, crossbreeding fat-tailed Moghani breed with a tailless breed such as Romanov can be considered as an efficient method to reduce carcass tail percentage and improve carcass yield. On the other hand, providing energy in the form of fat may also result in a relative decrease in the tail percentage.
Conclusion: In general, the results of this experiment indicated that crossbreeding fat-tailed Moghani breed with a tailless breed like Romanov can be considered as an efficient method to reduce tail percentage and improve carcass yield. On the other hand, providing energy in the form of fat may also lead to a relative decrease in tail percentage.


Main Subjects

©2023 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source

  1. Abdullah, A. Y., Qudsieh, R. I., & Nusairat, B. M. (2011). Effect of crossbreeding with exotic breeds on meat quality of Awassi lambs. Livestock Science, 142, 121-127.
  2. AOAC International. (2000). Official Methods of Analysis. 17th Ed, AOAC International, Gaithersburg, MD.
  3. Foroozandeh, A. D., Amini, H. R., Ghalamkari, G. R., Shahzeydi, M., & Nasrollahi, S. M. (2014). The effect of fat type and L-carnitine administration on growth, feed digestibility and blood metabolites of growing Afshari lambs. Livestock Science, 164, 67–71.
  4. Haddad, S. G., & Younis, H. M. (2004). The effect of adding ruminally protected fat in fattening diets on nutrient intake, digestibility and growth performance of Awassi lambs. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 113, 61–69. j.anifeedsci.2003. 10.015.
  5. Hadipour, A., Mohit, A., & Jahanian. R. (2014). Effect of dietary supplementation of camel hump fat on performance, carcass characteristics, antibody responses and blood metabolites in fattening lambs. Small Ruminant Research, 119, 1-7. 2013.12.029.
  6. Hossein-Zadeh, N. G., & Ardalan, M. E. (2010). Comparison of different models for the estimation of genetic parameters of body weight traits in Moghani sheep. Agricultural and Food Science, 19, 207-213. :
  7. Huhtanen, P., Rinne, M., & Nousiainen, J. (2007). Evaluation of the factors affecting silage intake of dairy cows: a revision of the relative silage dry-matter intake index. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 1, 758-770.
  8. Khaldari, M. (2007). The principles of sheep and goat breeding. Third edition. Tehran: Academic Jihad Publications. 560 p. (In Persian).
  9. Kumar, R., Sivaiah, K., Reddy, Y.R., Ekambram, B., Reddy, T.J., & Reddy, G.V. (2006). Effect of supplementation of dietary protected lipids on intake and nutrient utilization in Deccani lambs. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 38, 151-158. 10.1007/s11250-006-4248-0.
  10. Manso, T., Castro, T., Mantecón, A. R., & Jimeno, V. (2006). Effects of palm oil and calcium soaps of palm oil fatty acids in fattening diets on digestibility, performance and chemical body composition of lambs. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 127, 175–186
  11. Manso, T., Mantecón, Á.R., Giráldez, F.J., Lavin, P.J., & Castro, T. (1998). Animal performance and chemical body composition of lambs fed diets with different protein supplements. Small Ruminant Research, 29, 185-191.
  12. McDonald, P., Edwards, R. A., Greenhalgh, J. F. D., Morgan C. A., & Sinclair, L. A. (2012). Animal Nutrition, 7th Prentice Hall/Pearson; Harlow, England. pp. 192–234.
  13. Momani Shaker, M., Abdullah, A. Y., Bláha, J., Kridli, R. T. & Šáda, I. (2002). Fattening performance and carcass characteristics of Awassi male lambs, F1 crossbred Romanov×Awassi and Charollais×Awassi in Jordan. Czech Journal of AnimalScience, 47, 429–438.
  14. Mousavinia, S. M., Shadnoush, Zamani, G. F., Babaiee, M., & Faghani, M. (2015). Comparative performance and digestibility of nutrients in pure and crossbred lambs. Research Opinions in Animal & Veterinary Sciences, EISSN, 2223-0343.
  15. Owens, F. N., Secrist, D. S. Hill, W. J. & Gill. D. R. (1998). Acidosis in cattle: A review. Journal of Animal Science, 76, 275–286.
  16. Panah, M., souri, M., & Varahzardi, S. (2012). The effect of creep mixture diet on growth and carcass characteristics of suckling lambs. Animal Production, 14(1), 33-40. 10.22059/jap.2012.28891. (In Persian).
  17. Phillips, A. M., Brown, M. A., Dolezal, H. G., & Fitch, G. Q. (2005). Feedlot performance and carcass characteristics of lambs sired by Texel, Romanov, st, Croix or Dorset rams from polypay and st. Croix ewes. Sheep and Goat Research Journal, 405, 262-591.
  18. SAS, Institute. 2003. User’s Guide: Statistics, Version 9.1. Inc., Cary, NC.
  19. Shrestha, J. N. B., Boylan, W. J., & Rempel, W. E. (2008). Evaluation of sheep genetic resources in North America: Lamb productivity of purebred, crossbred and synthetic population. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 88, 391–398. CJA S07049.
  20. Stanford, K., Wallins, G. L., Jones, S. D. M., & Price, M. A. (1998). Breeding Finnish Landrace and Romanov ewes with terminal sires for out-of-season market lamb production. Small Ruminant Research, 27, 103–110.
  21. Talebi, M. A., & Gholamhosani, K. (2017). Growth and feedlot performance of Lori-Bakhtiari, Romanov×Lori-Bakhtiari and Pakistani×Lori-Bakhtiari crossbred lambs. Research on Animal Production, 8, 201-208 (In Persian).
  22. Van keulen, J. V., & Young, B. A. (1977). Evaluation of acid- insoluble ash as a natural marker in ruminant digestibility studies. Journal of Animal Science, 44: 282.

Van Soest, P. J., Robertson, J. B., & Lewis, B. A. (1991). Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and non-starch polysaccharides in relation to animal’s nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science, 74: 3583-3592. 0302(91)78551-2.


  • Receive Date: 01 June 2023
  • Revise Date: 24 September 2023
  • Accept Date: 30 September 2023
  • First Publish Date: 30 September 2023