Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality of Sheep and Goat

  • Mirco Corazzin
  • Silvia Del Bianco
  • Stefano Bovolenta
  • Edi PiasentierEmail author


The total worldwide population of sheep and goats has exceeded 2 billion heads and it is mainly concentrated in developing countries where meat production is predominant. Moreover, these animals are reared in a wide variety of husbandry systems, and, in according to recent estimates, in the next 8–10 years there will be an increase in both goat and sheep heads, +2% and +0.5% per year respectively. The aim of this chapter is to give a general overview of carcass characteristics, of sheep and goat meat quality, and the factors that can influence them. Carcass and meat compositions are highly variable and depend on many factors, such as husbandry systems, breed, gender, slaughter weight, and the management of the animals before slaughter. Dressing percentage ranged from around 40% to 60%, and, considering the different carcass cuts, shoulder and leg represent around 50–60% of the entire carcass weight. In well-managed animals, sheep meat is considered to be quite tender, while the meat from goat, while generally acceptable, tends to be less tender than that from sheep. Moreover, these meats are an important source of protein of high biological, value and of minerals and vitamins for human nutrition with particular regards to iron, selenium, zinc, and vitamins mainly of the B group. The fat content is modest and rich in beneficial fatty acids such as α-linolenic and conjugated linoleic acids.


Sheep Goat Meat Carcass 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirco Corazzin
    • 1
  • Silvia Del Bianco
    • 1
  • Stefano Bovolenta
    • 1
  • Edi Piasentier
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Università degli Studi di Udine, Dipartimento di Scienze AgroAlimentari, Ambientali e Animali, Sezione di Scienze Animali e VeterinarieUdineItaly

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