Fattening and slaughtering characteristics of both types (black and white) of the Hungarian racka sheep were investigated at the site of the National Institute for Agricultural Quality Control in Atkár. The Hungarian merino, the dairy cigaja and the British milksheep were applied as control groups. 10 animals were examined from both sexes in each genotype. The examination was carried out according to the principles set in the Codex for sheep breeding. During the test acute diarrhoea occurred in each control group. However, only few lambs were excluded from the test from the British milksheep and the Hungarian merino groups because of significant changes in their condition. Consequently, the results obtained were not significantly influenced. No symptoms of any illness could be recognised in the Hungarian racka sheep, though. The significance of the difference between the average of the examined groups were checked by T-tests.
Daily gain was significantly less compared to the control groups, except for the white racka males. The lambs starving for 24 hours before slaughtering weighed 25.3-30.0 kgs on average. The black and white racka females weighed the least while the Hungarian merino females weighed the most. The quantity of abdominal and kidney fat was significant in the case of our native females. The quantity of abdominal fat was significantly bigger compared to each control group. On comparing the investigated groups it turned out that the white racka males had the biggest skin weight while the white Hungarian racka females had the smallest, that is the two extremes were recognised in the same colour (white) of one bred. On qualifying the slaughtered animals females had better results than males in each bred; the racka sheep were better than the dairy cigaja but were worse than the Hungarian merino and British sheep groups.
The huge differences in the carcasses of the groups were seen clearly when chopping. Examining the leg, it was noticed that the native groups proved to be smaller than the control groups, except for the black racka males. As for the short loin, the Hungarian racka and the Hungarian merino sheep proved to be the best, whereas the dairy cigaja and the British milk males had much smaller ones. The results gained when investigating the rack were similar to those of the short loin. As far as the rib and shoulder are concerned, the black racka females and the dairy cigaja females had the worst results. After chopping, the right side was also boned in every group. The small proportion of bone in the case of racka sheep was easily noticeable that resulted in the fact that the white racka females had the highest quantity of short loin compared to the other groups. When examining the back quarter, the bone proportions of the 4 racka groups proved to be significantly less than those of the control groups but it was not true for the meat proportions. As for the front quarter meat, the racka males were prominent in the great shoulder meat and in the small proportion of bone. The quantity of the first quarter bone was the least in the case of racka sheep and was the biggest for dairy cigajas. This difference proved to be significant in most cases.
In short, the Hungarian racka groups had the best results in meat quantity, which was especially significant compared to the dairy cigaja sheep. However, the quantity of external fat increased.
The aim of our examination was to detect the puberty of the Hungarian Merino and its hairsheep crossbred ewes, and also to determine their average conception rates after having ram exposed in May and June. Hormon diagnostation was used to evaluate the exact date of the very first ovulation. Ultrasound technique was used for checking the conception rates of ewes. The pregnancy detection was applied after a month of the date of taking off the ram.
We evaluated the ages of ewes at puberty. Statistical deviation and standard error were calculated. The results proved the Hungarian Merino x Somali (N=10), ((x ± s) = 173 ± 43) and also the Hungarian Merino x Barbados Blackbelly crossbred genotypes (N=7), ((x ± s) = 186 ± 19) have their puberty much earlier as compared to the fullbred Hungarian Merino ewes (N=10), ((x ± s) = 231 ± 95). We experienced the highest conception rate in the group of the (Hungarian Merino x Somali) F1 ewes after exposing the ram in the „out-of season” period of time.
Merino and Merino-derived sheep breeds have been widely known and distributed across the world, both as purebred and admixed populations. They represent a diverse genetic resource which over time has been used as the basis for the development of new breeds. In spite of this, their gene-pool potential is still unexplored. The Merino sheep represent the most important sheep resource of the Hungarian husbandry. It has the largest amount of individuals between both of the stock and commercial flocks. But in Europe the Merino stocks went through a drastic reduction in number. Thus these breeds became endangered in several countries as well as in Hungary. In this study we would like to present the recent status of different Merino breeds of the world to ground our further phylogenetic research with the Hungarian Merino breed.
In our examination, we evaluated Hungarian Merino (ram n=30, ewe n=30), Ile de France F1 (ram n=10, ewe n=10) and Suffolk F1 (ram n=10, ewe n=10) lambs. The best fattening performance was shown by the Ile de France F1 lambs (361 g/day). After the fattening period, Hungarian Merino, Ile de France F1 and Suffolk F1 genotypes lambs were slaughtered with a live weight of 30-34 kg. Carcasses were evaluated for dressing percentage, weight of valuable carcass cuts, percentage of valuable meat, bone to meat ratio, as well as meat conformation and fat cover (S/EUROP grading).
The slaughter performance proved to be the best for the Suffolk F1 concerned dressing percentage (51,7%), percentage valuable carcass cuts (81,9%). The best percentage valuable meat presented (79,4%) the Ile de France F1 lambs. The best meat conformation and fat covered were in the Suffolk F1 lambs; Hungarian Merinos showed less favourable results.
Presently, the results derived from Hungarian practice that Hungarian Merino lambs are not eligible for fattening to great live body weight (30 kg). Therefore, it is necessary to revise the Hungarian Merino lambs with meat sheep breeds.
The author investigated 153 lambs of nine genotypes originating from breeding flocks, and 50 lambs originating from production flocks. The investigations were performed between 1995 and 1998. The authors discuss the evaluation of comformation and fat cover according to EUROP standards. The authors also investigate the proportion of valuable meat by genotype, and – out of the internal value indicators – the dry-matter, protein, fat, connective-tissue and hemin contents comparing the flavour, aroma, tenderness, and oven loss of the different genotypes.
The following findings should be highlighted:
♦ The Hungarian Merino breed should be improved, as – according to EUROP standards, more than 70% of these animals were rated as quality „R”.
♦ Hungarian fattening technology has to be preserved, as the lambs reach the desired slaughter weight within a short period of time, and without over-fattening.
♦ Readiness for slaughter, typical of each genotype, has to be defined, and slaughter at proper weight be achieved.
♦ It has to be re-evaluated whether the Hungarian Merino is the only breed which can be used in Hungary, as none of the investigations really proved the special characteristics and significance of this breed.
The author summarizes the findings of the investigation in five tables.
Species and individual animals with hard leg-horn have higher resistance against foot diseases. The reason for this is the fact, that bacteria can penetrate the hard leg-horn with more difficulty than the soft leg-horn, and in this way it is also more difficult for them to cause an illness. From among the mechanical parameters of the leg-horn the P = 0.1% negative linear correlation between the hardness and the water contents of the horn is significant. There is a positive linear correlation between the shock resistance and the water contents of the leg-horn. In the case of air-dry horn (with less than 8% water contents) there is a positive linear correlation between the Ca- and Zn contents as well as the Ca:P ratio and the hardness of the horn. The results suggest that the wider the Ca:P ratio of the horn, the harder the horn is, while the water content is the same. The leg-horn of the Hungarian Merino ewes have larger Ca contents and wider Ca:P ratio than juvenile animals have. This is why the juvenile animals with a softer leg-horn can be more susceptive to foot diseases than the older animals.
We compares the fatty acid composition of five different genotypes. The maternal line was Hungarian Comb Merino x British Milksheep and this genotype was crossed with different terminal breeds, like: British Milksheep, Suffolk, Ile de France, German Mutton Merino, German Blackheaded. We compared the intramuscular fatty acid composition of different body parts like: leg, loin and shoulder. We can name that there are significant differences between the genotypes in the fatty acid composition. The suffolk crosses has the best UFA/SFA rate. In the meat of German Mutton Merino crosses has a high saturated fatty acid ratio, but there is a high polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio as well. There are only small differences between the meat parts in the view of fatty acid composition. Despite the small differences, the loin showed the best picture while the shoulder had the worst.