Merino lambs divergently selected on multiple rearing ability were assessed for birth weight (BW), length of parturition (LP), intervals from birth to standing (ST) from standing to suckling (SU), as well as maternal cooperation score (MCS). Estimates of h2 were 0.18 for BW, 0.05 for LP, 0.23 for ST, 0.07 for SU and 0.02 for MCS. Estimates of m2 were 0.23 for BW, 0.10 for LP and 0.07 for SU, while c2 estimates were 0.13 for BW, 0.09 for SU and 0.23 for MCS. Heavier lambs had longer parturitions, both on the rg and rm levels. High MCS's were associated with shorter intervals for SU on the c2 level. Maternal genetic trends suggested divergence between lines for LP and ST. Selection the ability to rear multiples seemed to result in behavioural adaptations conducive to lamb survival.

S. WP Cloete, J. B van Wyk, A. J Scholtz, A. R Gilmour

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume , , 17.07, 2006
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