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Title: Age at First Oestrus. A Useful Trait for Early Reproductive Performance?
Contributor(s): Newton, Joanna E (author)orcid ; Brown, Daniel (author); Dominik, Sonja (author)orcid ; Van Der Werf, Julius H (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2013
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Abstract: An increasing number of Australian sheep breeders are joining ewes at 6-8 months of age, which is 6-12 months earlier than ewes are traditionally first joined. When joining at a young age, additional factors such as the attainment of sexual maturity must be considered. The age of sexual maturity is a challenging trait to measure with limited data currently available in sheep. This study explored several methods of analyzing age of first oestrus (AFO) data, an indicator trait for sexual maturity, and explored the relationship between AFO and early reproductive performance. Lambing records from 2218 Maternal-cross ewes joined naturally at 7-10 months were used, a subset of 906 ewes had AFO information collected through the use of teaser wethers. Heritability estimates for AFO were low (0.03 - 0.09) whilst estimates for number of lambs born and weaned at yearling age were 0.20 and 0.16 respectively. Genetic correlation between AFO and number of lambs born and weaned at yearling age were 0.45 and 0.51, respectively, but had high standard errors. Improving reproductive performance through the use of teasers to record AFO is not recommended, thus a need exists to find reliable measures for early reproductive traits including sexual maturity.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: 20th Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics: Translating Science into Action, Napier, New Zealand, 20th - 23rd October, 2013
Source of Publication: Proceedings of the Twentieth Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics, p. 86-89
Publisher: AAABG: Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Place of Publication: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Field of Research (FOR): 070201 Animal Breeding
060412 Quantitative Genetics (incl Disease and Trait Mapping Genetics)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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Series Name: Proceedings of the AAABG ... Conference
Series Number : 20
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