Genetic analysis of body weight in South African Angora kids and young goats
The data used for this study consisted of 27 485 kid records, the progeny of 599 sires and 10 077 dams, and were collected on the 2000- to 2009-born kids of 11 Angora goat studs. Variance and covariance components and ratios pertaining to direct additive genetic variation, maternal additive genetic variation, maternal permanent environmental variation, and the relationship between direct and maternal effects for birth weight (BW; kg), weaning weight (WW; kg) and body weight at 8, 12 and 16 months (W8, W12 and W16; kg) were estimated with the ASReml program. Direct additive heritability estimates of 0.22, 0.20, 0.12, 0.34 and 0.58 were obtained for BW, WW, W8, W12 and W16, respectively. Maternal heritabilities were 0.10, 0.09, 0.03 and 0.06 for BW, WW, W8 and W12, respectively, while maternal environmental effects of 0.13, 0.11, 0.06 and 0.04 were estimated for the latter traits, respectively. An unfavourable correlation of –0.38 was obtained between direct and maternal genetic effects for BW. Low to medium positive direct genetic correlations were estimated between birth weight and body weights recorded at a later stage in life. High positive direct genetic correlations were estimated among WW, W8, W12 and W16. The maternal genetic correlations obtained between birth weight and the other body weights were medium to high. Phenotypic correlations among the traits ranged from low to high. Genetic trends of body weight at different ages indicate that although not many breeders use objective measurement as a selection tool, body weight increased slightly in the 11 studs over the 10-year study period. Since reproduction and body weight should be included in a selection programme for Angora goats, the relationship between the direct and maternal additive effects should be clarified. The importance of a sufficiently structured and related pedigree, especially on the part of the dams and maternal grand dams, has been highlighted in this study. As this is one of the constraints of this data set, data collection in the Angora goat industry should continue until a suitably structured data set has been built up that could be used to estimate multi-trait breeding values for the industry.
Keywords: Birth weight, genetic parameters, maternal effects, weaning weight