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Genetic parameter estimates among scale activity score and farrowing disposition with reproductive traits in swine

Schneider, J. F., Rempel, L. A., Rohrer, G. A., Brown-Brandl, T. M.
Journal of animal science 2011 v.89 no.11 pp. 3514
birth weight, farrowing, genetic correlation, gilts, ovulation, piglets, puberty, reproductive traits, weaning, weaning weight
The primary objective of this study was to determine if certain behavior traits were genetically correlated with reproduction. If 1 or both of the behavior traits were found to be correlated, a secondary objective was to determine if the behavior traits could be useful in selecting for more productive females. A scale activity score taken at 5 mo of age and a farrowing disposition score taken at farrowing were selected as the behavioral traits. Scale activity score ranged from 1 to 5 and farrowing disposition ranged from 1 to 3. Reproductive traits included age at puberty, number born alive, number born dead, litter birth weight, average piglet birth weight, number weaned, litter weaning weight, average weaning weight, wean-to-estrus interval, ovulation rate including gilts, and postweaning ovulation rate. Genetic correlations between scale activity score and reproduction ranged from –0.79 to 0.61. Three of the correlations, number born alive (P < 0.01), average piglet birth weight (P < 0.001), and wean-to-estrus interval (P = 0.014), were statistically significant but included both favorable and antagonistic correlations. In contrast, all but 1 of the farrowing disposition correlations was favorable and ranged from –0.66 to 0.67. Although only the correlation with litter birth weight was significant (P = 0.018), the consistent favorable direction of all farrowing disposition correlations, except average weaning weight, shows a potential for inclusion of farrowing disposition into a selection program.