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Chemical Composition and Yield of Cornish Game Hens and Broilers

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Chemical composition and yield data were compared for male and female chicken carcasses classed as Cornish game hens and broilers. The Cornish game hens ranged in weight from 501.6 g to 647.5 g depending on the sex of the individual. The broilers averaged 1010 g for the females and 1130 g for the males. Light meat was higher in moisture and protein content, whereas, dark meat was higher in percent fat and ash. As the percent moisture and protein increased, fat percentage decreased in the light meat. Fat content of the meat was the most variable component studied. Females yielded a higher percentage of light meat, and males produced a larger percentage of dark meat.
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Chemical Composition and Yield of Cornish Game Hens and Broilers
M. D. SIMPSON and T. L. GOODWIN
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Arkansas,, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
(Received for publication December 26, 1978)
ABSTRACT Chemical composition and yield data were compared for male and female chicken
carcasses classed as Cornish game hens and broilers. The Cornish game hens ranged in weight from
501.6 g to 647.5 g depending on the sex of the individual. The broilers averaged 1010 g for the fe-
males and 1130 g for the males. Light meat was higher in moisture and protein content, whereas,
dark meat was higher in percent fat and ash. As the percent moisture and protein increased, fat per-
centage decreased in the light meat. Fat content of the meat was the most variable component
studied. Females yielded a higher percentage of light meat, and males produced a larger percentage
of dark meat.
1979 Poultry Science 58:1400-1402
INTRODUCTION
As early as 1938 chicken breast meat was re-
ported to have less fat than leg meat (Harshaw,
1938).
Feeding a fattening ration resulted in a
decrease in the percentage of protein, ash, and
water in the leg muscle, but not in the breast
muscle. As the age of roosters increased so did
the total carcass fat content.
Female carcasses contained more fat than
males (Harshaw and Rector, 1940; Dansky and
Hill, 1952). As the calorie-protein ratios of the
diet became wider, water and protein content
of the carcasses decreased and fat content in-
creased (Donaldson et al., 1956; Essary et al,
1965,
Summers et al, 1965, Marion and Wood-
ruff,
1966; and Goodwin et al, 1969).
Neither age nor sex had any significant influ-
ence on percentage fat or moisture in either raw
or cooked breast and thigh muscles (Singh and
Essary, 1974). As the broilers increased in age
from 8 to 10 weeks of age, protein level of the
breast increased from 10.0 to 22.9%. Protein
content of the thigh was lower (16.4%) at 4
weeks than at 6, 8, or 10 weeks of age.
The objectives of this study were to obtain
some chemical and yield data from Cornish
game hens as well as broilers in the weight range
used for precooked items.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Cornish game hens were obtained from two
different sources representing two geographic
locations. The 20 Cornish game hens, desig-
nated Source A, were separated at the proces-
sing plant into 10 each of females and males
with an average dressed weight without giblets
and necks of 501.6 g and 555.7 g, respectively.
Cornish game hens designated Source B were
shipped in the frozen state from a different
geographic region, and sex could not be deter-
mined. Source B birds averaged 647.5 g without
giblets. A group of 20 broilers, designated as
Source C, weighed 1010 g for the 10 females
and 1130 g for the 10 males. These broilers
were obtained from the same company which
supplied Source A Cornish game hens. Dressed
carcass weights were without giblets and necks.
Thawed dressed weights were recorded, the
carcasses cut into parts and the parts reweighed
for calculation of percentage parts expressed as
a percentage of the shell weight. The parts were
separated into light meat consisting of breast
and wings, and dark meat containing the legs
and back.
Samples containing a composite bone, skin,
and meat were ground three times in a Hobart
food chopper, wrapped in aluminum foil, la-
beled, and stored at —22 C. The samples con-
tained bone, since at the time of these studies,
nutritional labeling had not specified if whole
bird labels would be required or if bone should
be included with the analysis. Later, the sam-
ples were thawed at room temperature, and
moisture, fat, and ash contents were deter-
mined as outlined by AOAC (1975) procedures.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Both size and sex of the Cornish game hen
and the broilers influenced chemical composi-
tion of the meat. As the size of the carcass in-
1400
RESEARCH NOTE 1401
TABLE 1. Chemical composition of eviscerated carcass*
Group
Component
Type
CGHe
Broilers
CGHe
Moisture
67.5
65.0
67.9
66.8
.73
NS
Fat
('")
10.9
13.2
11.4
12.0
1.04
.05
Ash
2.9
3.2
2.8
2.9
.15
.01
Protein
18.7
18.6
17.9
18.4
.47
NS
Source Au
Source Cc
Source Bd
Level of significance
Means based on 20 birds from groups A and C with light and dark meat combined and sex disregarded.
Cornish game hens with an average dressed weight of 555.7 g for males and 501.6 for females for 10 birds
of each sex.
Broilers with an average dressed weight of 1130 g for males and 1010 g for females for 10 birds of each sex.
Cornish game hens with an average dressed weight of 647.5 g; sex unknown, 10 bird samples.
eCGH, Cornish game hens.
creased from the Cornish hen to the broiler,
fat, and ash content increased and moisture de-
creased (Table 1), although the change in mois-
ture did not represent a significant decrease.
These results would be expected since the bird
develops more bone and fat as it ages. Protein
content remained constant between Cornish
game hens and broilers.
Light meat was higher in percent moisture
and protein whereas dark meat was higher in
percent fat and ash (Table 2). Meat obtained
from females was higher in percent fat and ash,
and the meat taken from the males contained
more moisture. Protein content of the meat was
the same for both sexes. Fat content of the
meat was the most variable compound studied.
The coefficient of variation for fat was greater
than the 20% allowable under nutritional label-
ing. These results agree with most of the work
reported on chemical composition of the edible
TABLE 2. Chemical composition of chicken meat
Group
Aa
Cb
X
Bc
Aa
Cb
X
Bc
Type of
meat
Light
Light
Light
Light
Dark
Dark
Dark
Dark
Moisture
M
69.2
68.1
68.6
69.4
67.5
65.1
66.3
66.5
F
66.2
65.9
66.0
64.5
63.4
63.9
Fat
M
7.9
9.7
8.8
9.3
11.6
14.5
13.0
13.5
Component, %
F
10.2
11.9
11.0
14.1
16.7
15.4
Ash
M
2.6
2.6
2.6
2.5
3.4
3.1
3.2
3.1
F
2.9
2.8
2.8
3.6
3.3
3.4
Protein
M F
20.2 20.7
19.7 19.3
20.0 20.0
18.8
17.7 17.8
17.4 16.7
17.6 17.2
16.9
Cornish game hens with an average dressed weight of 555.7 g for males and 501.6 for females for 10 birds
for each sex.
Broilers with an average dressed weight of 1130 for males and 1010 g for females for 10 birds of each sex.
""Cornish game hens with an average dressed weight of 647.5 g; sex unknown for 10 birds.
1402 SIMPSON AND GOODWIN
TABLE 3. Percent light and dark parts in Cornish game hens and broilers3-'^
Broilers
10 Head
Source B
Cornish game
Hens-10 head
Source A
Unknown sex
Cornish game
Hens—10 head
Source C
Sex
M
F
M
F
Whole
dressed
wt (g)
1,130
1,010
545
502
648
Lightc
meat
wt(g)
499
463
225
218
285
Type of
Light
parts
(%>
44.0
45.8
41.4
43.4
44.0
meat
Darkc
parts
wt
630
530
316
275
361
Dark
parts
55.4
53.0
58.2
54.8
52.8
Lossd
(%)
.5
1.2
.6
1.9
.2
Light parts: wings and breast with ribs and scapula attached.
Dark parts: drums, thighs and back with skin and bones attached.
Parts based on dressed weight.
% Loss amount of weight lost from cutting the carcass including moisture.
portions of meat from broilers (Holcomb and
Maw, 1934; Harshaw, 1938; Dansky and Hill,
1952;
and McMaster, 1970).
Weights of light and dark meat and as a per-
centage of the dressed weight are given in Table
3.
The quantity of meat produced was greater
in parts representing dark meat than from the
light meat parts. Within each weight group of
birds sampled, males were heavier and yielded
more meat than females.
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Association of Official Analytical Chemists, 1975.
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... The corresponding carcass weights minus the giblets were 1575 and 1304 g, respectively. Various other researchers (Singh and Essary, 1974;Evans et al, 1976;Simpson and Goodwin, 1979;Broadbent et al., 1981) have reported similar differences in weight between sexes. As a proportion of live body weight, the thawed carcass yield for males and females was 71.1 and 70.7%, respectively. ...
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The influence of dietary energy on the distribution of fat in various tissues of the growing chicken
  • L M Dansky
  • F W Hill
Dansky, L. M., and F. W. Hill, 1952. The influence of dietary energy on the distribution of fat in various tissues of the growing chicken. Poultry Sci. 31:912 (Abstr.).
The effect of fattening at different ages on the composition of cockerels
  • H N Harshaw
Harshaw, H. N., 1938. The effect of fattening at different ages on the composition of cockerels. Poultry Sci. 17:163-169.
The composition of turkeys as affected by age and sex
  • H M Harshaw
  • R R Rector
Harshaw, H. M., and R. R. Rector, 1940. The composition of turkeys as affected by age and sex. Poultry Sci. 19:404-411.