2010-Benhajali_et_al - Assessment of different on-farm...

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H. Benhajali, X. Boivin, J. Sapa, P. Pellegrini, P. Boulesteix, P. Lajudie and F. Phocas genetic evaluation Assessment of different on-farm measures of beef cattle temperament for use in doi: 10.2527/jas.2010-3132 originally published online August 6, 2010 2010, 88:3529-3537. J ANIM SCI http://jas.fass.org/content/88/11/3529 the World Wide Web at: The online version of this article, along with updated information and services, is located on www.asas.org by guest on November 15, 2011 jas.fass.org Downloaded from
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to find a simple measure for calf temperament discrimination, which can be useful as a selection criterion for on-farm French beef cattle breeding schemes. Behavioral records were registered at an average age of 5 and 7 mo, re- spectively, for 1,282 and 1,440 Limousin calves born in 24 French farms between August 2007 and April 2008. Measures were repeated for 810 calves at the 2 ages. The test procedure consisted of individually restraining the calves in a chute, then exposing them to a station- ary human situated in front of the chute for 10 s. For every calf and each period of the test, the number of rush movements and the total number of movements were scored by visual appraisal using a continuous scale ranging from 0 (no movements) to 60 (continu- ous movements). Initial scores were also transformed to categorical scores and analyzed. Genetic correlation across ages were very high for all the traits (above 0.84 ± 0.20) suggesting that these traits are governed by the same pool of genes at the 2 ages. The correspond- ing phenotypic correlations were about 0.3 for all the measures. Heritabilities were moderate for all measures (from 0.11 to 0.31) with the total number of move- ments during weighing measured at 7 mo being the greatest. All the measures were highly correlated (from 0.73 ± 0.26 to 0.99 ± 0.02). Genetic correlation across sexes was not statistically different from 1. However, traits measured during weighing showed different ge- netic variance estimates for females and males. Similar results were obtained for the transformed categorical scores. According to these results, the total number of movements during weighing seems to be the most promising trait for on-farm genetic evaluation of French beef cattle temperament. Key words: beef cattle, behavior, docility, genetic evaluation, genetic parameter, on-farm temperament ©2010 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. J. Anim. Sci. 2010. 88:3529–3537 doi:10.2527/jas.2010-3132 INTRODUCTION There is currently a growing interest in European beef cattle for genetic improvement on temperament, defined as “the animal’s behavioral response to han- dling by humans” (Burrow, 1997). This is in part re- flective of the fact that less labor on farms has been an industry trend over last several decades, but also the need to fit the international request to improve animal temperament. Animal temperament has been shown to be moderately heritable in beef cattle and therefore could respond to selection (Burrow, 1997). In some countries, such as Australia or the United States,
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2010-Benhajali_et_al - Assessment of different on-farm...

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