Selection in meat sheep concerns usually two groups of traits, on the one hand the reproductive performances and on the other hand the meat traits such as growth and body composition. One way to improve lamb production may be to increase the efficiency of feed transformation by lambs. To avoid behaviour problems it was necessary to be able to estimate individual feed intake of group-tested lambs. In order to do that, the first step of the study was to develop an automatic feeder adapted for young rams. Then from 1997 to 1999, several groups of young rams included in Individual Performance Tests also had their feed intake measured. The genetic parameters have been estimated for feed intake, feed intake adjusted for weight, residual feed intake estimated by regression of feed intake on growth, weight and body composition. Traits used in selection : growth, adjusted weight, body composition and conformation were also considered. The opportunity of the use of these feeding traits in meat sheep selection will be discussed. 

D. Francois, B O Bibé, J Bouix, J. C Brunel, J. L Weisbecker, E. Ricard

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 10, , 10.1, 2002
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