Four hundred and fifty four N’Dama market cattle (233 bulls, 149 steers, 72 cows) purchased in Sierra Leone were studied with respect to their slaughter characteristics carcass characteristics, and other factors related to shrunk slaughter weight and hot carcass weight. Liver kidney, spleen, lungs and trachea, tongue diaphragm, and feet each constituted similar percentages of shrunk slaughter weight of bulls, steers and cows. Steers had the highest hot during percentage (50·19), followed by bulls (48·74), and cows (46·61) (P < 0·01). Bulls and leers had larger rib-eye (longissimus dorsi muscle) areas per unit of shrunk slaughter weight than cows (P < 0·01). Bulls had larger rib-eye areas per unit of hot carcass weight than steers or cows (P < 0·01). When corrected for age and source, steers averaged 2·5 kg heavier than bull and 30·0 kg heavier (P < 0·05) than cows, and steer carcasses averaged 4·3 kg heavier than bull carcasses and 22·9 kg heavier (P < 0·05) than cow carcasses. The data presented are representative of the cattle slaughtered in Sierra Leone and should provide useful information for those involved with beef production or meat processing using N'Dama cattle.