Brown Swiss breeders sometimes experience difficulties in feeding calves because of the weak sucking ability of the calves in the early days of life. For the welfare of the calves, they should be suckled by their dams or should aggressively ingest colostrum immediately after birth. The composition of colostrum changes rapidly during the first few days of lactation, and the ability of calves to absorb the Ig decreases quickly as well. The aim of this study was to increase our knowledge of environmental and genetic components affecting the sucking response, to evaluate the possibility of selecting for this trait. Sucking ability was recorded in 3 categories (drank from the milk bucket nipple or bottle without help, drank with help, did not drink) at 5 postnatal meals (6,12, 24, 48, and 72 h from birth). Records were analyzed with 2 different models: a single-trait threshold sire model, in which all observations were analyzed as a single trait with 5 levels, and a multiple-trait threshold liability sire model, in which meal-by-meal observations were analyzed as 5 different binary traits. Management procedures, the interval between birth and meals, parity, and season of birth were environmental factors affecting the variability in sucking ability. The heritability estimate for the single-trait analysis was 0.14, whereas heritabilities for the multiple-trait analysis were 0.26, 0.22, 0.21 0.12, and 0.13 for the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth meal, respectively. Estimated genetic correlations among traits were high (0.82 to 0.99). This study suggests the possibility of selection based on sucking ability. Future collection of larger data sets on the sucking response of calves in the first 2 meals after birth would increase the accuracy of genetic parameter estimates.

Estimation of Genetic Parameters for Perinatal Sucking Behavior of Italian Brown Swiss Calves / C. Maltecca, A. Rossoni, C. Nicoletti, E. Santus, K.A. Weigel, A. Bagnato. - In: JOURNAL OF DAIRY SCIENCE. - ISSN 0022-0302. - 90:10(2007), pp. 4814-4820. [10.3168/jds.2007-0183]

Estimation of Genetic Parameters for Perinatal Sucking Behavior of Italian Brown Swiss Calves

C. Maltecca
Primo
;
A. Rossoni
Secondo
;
A. Bagnato
Ultimo
2007

Abstract

Brown Swiss breeders sometimes experience difficulties in feeding calves because of the weak sucking ability of the calves in the early days of life. For the welfare of the calves, they should be suckled by their dams or should aggressively ingest colostrum immediately after birth. The composition of colostrum changes rapidly during the first few days of lactation, and the ability of calves to absorb the Ig decreases quickly as well. The aim of this study was to increase our knowledge of environmental and genetic components affecting the sucking response, to evaluate the possibility of selecting for this trait. Sucking ability was recorded in 3 categories (drank from the milk bucket nipple or bottle without help, drank with help, did not drink) at 5 postnatal meals (6,12, 24, 48, and 72 h from birth). Records were analyzed with 2 different models: a single-trait threshold sire model, in which all observations were analyzed as a single trait with 5 levels, and a multiple-trait threshold liability sire model, in which meal-by-meal observations were analyzed as 5 different binary traits. Management procedures, the interval between birth and meals, parity, and season of birth were environmental factors affecting the variability in sucking ability. The heritability estimate for the single-trait analysis was 0.14, whereas heritabilities for the multiple-trait analysis were 0.26, 0.22, 0.21 0.12, and 0.13 for the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth meal, respectively. Estimated genetic correlations among traits were high (0.82 to 0.99). This study suggests the possibility of selection based on sucking ability. Future collection of larger data sets on the sucking response of calves in the first 2 meals after birth would increase the accuracy of genetic parameter estimates.
Brown Swiss; Dairy cattle; Functional trait; Sucking ability
Settore AGR/17 - Zootecnica Generale e Miglioramento Genetico
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/38072
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