Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The hydration status of lambs after lairage at two Australian abattoirs

R. H. Jacob A E , D. W. Pethick B , E. Ponnampalam C , J. Speijers A and D. L. Hopkins D

A Department of Agriculture, Baron Hay Court, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia.

B School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

C Department of Primary Industries, Sneydes Road, Werribee, Vic. 3030, Australia.

D NSW Department of Primary Industries, Centre for Sheep Meat Development, PO Box 129, Cowra, NSW 2794, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: rjacob@agric.wa.gov.au

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46(7) 909-912 https://doi.org/10.1071/EA05327
Submitted: 18 November 2005  Accepted: 2 May 2006   Published: 8 June 2006

Abstract

Urine samples were collected from lambs slaughtered at 2 abattoirs, 1 in Western Australia (WA) and 1 in Victoria (Vic.), for the purpose of estimating hydration status at the time of slaughter. Collections were made from 219 consignments at WA and 57 consignments at Vic., over a 12-month period commencing in July 2003 and finishing in June 2004. The average consignment urine specific gravity was high, suggesting subclinical dehydration was common at both abattoirs. Consignment urine specific gravity was higher at Vic. than WA during the months from January to June. Analyses of demographic data collected at WA suggested that average consignment urine specific gravity was higher in sucker lambs than carry over lambs, highest in August and lowest in January, and higher in lambs from the south-eastern districts compared with other districts within the state.


Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the valuable support of the management and staff at the 2 abattoirs, without which this study could not have occurred. Also the excellent technical assistance provided by Messers Bruce Blight and Paul Weston was very much appreciated. The authors would like to thank Meat and Livestock Australia and the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre for funding this project.


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