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Genetic correlations between temperament and breeding traits in Limousin heifers

Abstract : The aim of this study was to assess the potential consequences of selection for less aggressive or active animals during handling by estimating genetic correlations between different criteria of temperament and Limousin heifer breeding traits. Data consisted of the records collected from 1992 to 2004 at the progeny test station of Limousin Al sires. Six traits recorded during the same behavioural test - the so-called docility test - were considered to describe the heifer's temperament., aggressiveness against the handler, running time and number of escapes per minute of test period in presence or absence of the handler and a synthetic docility score accounting for the five previous components. Eight breeding traits were also considered simultaneously in the joint analysis with the five elementary temperament components: weights at 12 months and after calving (for measuring heifer growth), age at first observed oestrus (for measuring puberty) and fertility (for measuring heifer reproductive performance), calving ease score and pelvic opening (for measuring calving performance), maternal behaviour at calf's birth and milk yield (for measuring the suckling ability of the primiparous cow). REML (co)variance estimates were derived using linear multitrait sire models. Estimates of heritability were in the range of values given in the literature. Estimates of genetic correlation between temperament traits indicated that, genetically, aggressive animals also attempt to escape a lot. Consequently, their elimination will reduce both working risk and handling time for the breeder. Genetic correlations between temperament traits and breeding traits ranged from zero to favourable estimates and confirmed the very few results of the literature indicating a slight trend of less fearful heifers also being more productive, mainly because of a higher reproduction and calving performance, and, to a lesser extent, because of higher maternal abilities such as behaviour at calf's birth and milk yield.
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 30, 2020 - 11:01:13 PM
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Florence Phocas, Xavier Boivin, Jean Sapa, Gilbert Trillat, Alain Boissy, et al.. Genetic correlations between temperament and breeding traits in Limousin heifers. Animal Science, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2006, 82 (6), pp.805-811. ⟨10.1017/ASC200696⟩. ⟨hal-02661838⟩



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