Evaluation of the growth performance of calves from different dams served by same bull
The growth performance of seven calves from different Muturu dams served by same bull was studied in a mini cattle ranch. Body measurements were taken and observed for growth over a period of 12 months. The result indicates an apparent difference among the calves in all parameters measured including body weight, body length, height at withers and heartgirth. Growth rate also showed increased differences among the experimental calves. The birth weights of the seven calves ranged from 9.8 to 13.0kg, with a mean value of 11.42 ± 0.44 while the yearling weights were between 107.80 and 129.48kg with an overall mean of 120.57 ± 2.44. The coefficients of variation for body weight at birth and at 12 months were 10.16 and 5.36% respectively. The results further revealed that body weight at yearling age correlated positively with all parameters and these include body length (r=0.81889, r2=67.09), height at withers (r=0.8837, r2=78.09). Similarly, body length had a positive correlation with height at withers (r=0.9667, r2=93.45) and heartgirth (r=0.8782, r2=77.13). While height at withers correlated positively with heartgirth (r=0.9291, r2=86.42). Similar trends were obtained in the regression of each of the body measurements on the other in which body weight changes depended more on those of body length (0.56) than on heartgirth (0.34). Judging from the observed variations existing among the individual calves resulting from the different cows at birth and at 12 months of age, maternal rather than paternal influences appeared to be more important in the traits studied.
Keywords: Muturu cattle, Calves, Growth performance, Yearling weight, Body measurements.