Abstract A major proportion of the costs of pork production is related to feed. The feed conversion rate (FCR) or residual feed intake (RFI) is thus commonly included in breeding programmes. Feeding behaviour traits do not directly have economic value but, if correlated with production traits, can be used as auxiliary traits. The aim of this study was to estimate the heritability of feeding behaviour traits and their genetic correlations with production traits in the Finnish Yorkshire pig population. The data were available from 3,235 pigs. Feeding behaviour was measured as the number of visits per day (NVD), time spent in feeding per day (TPD), daily feed intake (DFI), time spent feeding per visit (TPV), feed intake per visit (FPV) and feed intake rate (FR). The test station phase was divided into five periods. Estimates of heritabilities of feeding behaviour traits varied from 0.17 to 0.47. Strong genetic correlations were obtained between behaviour traits in all periods. However, only DFI was strongly correlated with the production traits. Interestingly, a moderate positive genetic correlation was obtained between FR and backfat thickness (0.1?0.5) and between FR and average daily gain (0.3?0.4), depending on the period. Based on the results, there is no additional benefit from including feeding-related traits other than those commonly used (FCR and RFI) in the breeding programme. However, if correlated with animal welfare, the feeding behaviour traits could be valuable in the breeding programme.
- 412 Kotieläintiede, maitotaloustiede
- 1184 Genetiikka, kehitysbiologia, fysiologia