The aim of this study was to determine the post-mortem meat quality characteristics of extensively reared Tankwa goats to identify the most favourable age and sex for slaughter. Twenty-four goats, representing five groups, namely young intact males (G1), young females (G25), young castrates (G3), old males (G4), and females (G5), were selected directly from their natural grazing environment and slaughtered to evaluate meat quality characteristics. The Musculus longissimus and Musculus semimembranosus from the right side of each carcass were evaluated. Dressing percentage and chilling losses did not differ significantly between the groups. Ultimate pH at 24 hours after slaughter was higher for males than females. Meat colour, water-holding capacity, and sarcomere length did not differ between groups. Myofibril fragmentation length (MFL) was on average less than 40 µm and was shorter in younger animals. There were no significant differences in cooking loss and thawing loss for M. longissimus and M. semimembranosus between groups. There were no significant differences in Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) between groups for meat from the M. semimembranosus. However, WBSF of the M. longissimus was higher in older animals. Overall, meat from these goats can be regarded as tender because meat with a WBSF below 5.5 is considered as tender.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher