The inheritance of appetite in ruminants Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/st74cs923

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  • The study involved three separate research efforts in which 10 Holstein calves and 85 purebred Hampshire and Suffolk ewe and ram lambs were employed. The objectives of the experiments were to characterize appetite, describe its inheritance and evaluate its associations with animal performance. In the calf experiment, appetite was determined by recording the time required by each calf to completely suckle 3 pints of milk from a standardized feeding bottle. The average suckling speed was 112 seconds with a standard deviation of 38.4 seconds. The maximum and minimum suckling speeds were 298 and 60 seconds, respectively and the coefficient of variation was 34%. A repeatability value of 0.33 was obtained for suckling speed indicating that it might be a moderately heritable trait. There was no significant correlation between MPPA (Most Probable Producing Ability) for appetite and any of the performance characteristics tested. In the lamb experiment, 44 lambs averaging 134.7 lbs. in weight and 10 1/2 months of age and 41 lambs averaging 95 lbs. in weight and 5 1/2 months of age were used in winter of 1974 and summer of 1975, respectively to study the association between appetite and animal performance. Appetite was determined by weighing the feed remaining at the end of 2 one-half hour intervals after the presentation of daily allocation of fresh feed. Appetite was expressed as pounds of feed consumed in 30 or 60 minutes (FC 30, FC 60), the proportion of the 24-hour feed consumption eaten in 30 and 60 minutes, (FC 30/FC 24, FC 60/FC 24), the amount of feed consumed in 30 and 60 minutes per unit of metabolic weight, also called eating rate index (ERI 30, ERI 60), and the average daily feed consumption for the entire experimental period per unit of metabolic weight. The appetite measures were found to be significantly associated with one another (P< .01), suggesting the possibility they are estimates of the same biological characteristic. The repeatability values for appetite ranged from 0.18 to 0.51 in the winter trial and from 0.33 to 0.59 in the summer trial. These values indicated that appetite might be a moderately to highly heritable trait. The males had higher repeatability values in both lamb trials. In the winter trial the males ate significantly faster than the females and also gained more. The difference was 13.6 lbs. and 0.41 lb. at 60 minutes. In the summer trial the males still gained more but there was no significant difference in eating rate. The difference was 9.8 lbs. and 0.10 lb. at 60 minutes. This probably suggests metabolic differences associated with age and sex in relation to appetite, at different stages of the growth cycle. There were significant correlations between total weight gain, average daily gain, and feed efficiency and most of the appetite estimates in the winter trial. None of the above performance characteristics was significantly associated with appetite estimates in the summer lambs. The results suggest that under specific conditions appetite might be a useful and easily obtainable predictor for gain and could be used in a selection program.
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