This study evaluated the performance, carcass characteristics, and centesimal composition of the meat of intact and castrated lambs of the Santa Inês breed and of the crossbred animals: one-half Santa Inês × one-half Texel. Thirty-four lambs were used, nine intact and nine castrated males of the Santa Inês breed, and seven intact and nine castrated crossbred males, all aged between 6 and 7 mo and with an average live weight of 18.2 kg. The design was completely randomized in a 2 × 2 factorial (two crossing and two sexual conditions), with statistical analyses performed in the STAT version 9.4 program. There was a significant difference the Santa Inês and the Texel and Santa Inês crossbred animals in feed conversion and average daily gain, with superiority of the latter group. Castration of animals aged <12 mo had no significant effect on the performance and on the carcass traits of the Texel and Santa Inês crossbred animals, whereas the genotype had a great influence on weight gain and on subjective and quantitative carcass characteristics, demonstrating that crosses in sheep are needed to explore the complementarity of breeds, and heterosis is needed to achieve better performances and carcass characteristics.
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Vol. 99 • No. 2