Roughly one-half of the cost of ruminant production is associated with feed. James (1986) argued that feed intake should be considered in the selection objective for sheep even if feed intake is not recorded and included in the selection criterion. Electronic collection of feed data in a group setting is becoming more feasible and permits examination of feed behavior traits as well as feed intake. Complex genetic models can now be used to estimate genetic parameters from large data sets. However, precise estimates of genetic and phenotypic parameters for feed intake of sheep have not been published, and development of breeds has not directly considered effects on feed intake and efficiency. The objective of the study was to estimate genetic parameters for daily gain, feed intake, and feeding behavior traits recorded on ram lambs of a terminal sire composite population.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 10, , 10.09, 2002
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