Heritability of juniper consumption in goats
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Data from goats (n = 505), collected over a 4-yr period, were used to estimate the heritability of juniper consumption. Juniper consumption was determined by near-infrared spectroscopy on fecal samples (n = 1,080) collected from female Boer-cross goats grazing pastures with a variety of plants, including juniper. The animals with records were progeny of 72 sires. Individual goats had from 1 to 4 observations over a 4-yr period. Predicted juniper consumption for individual observations ranged from -5 to +62% of the diet. Data were analyzed with a mixed model that included management group as a fixed effect, BW as a covariate, and permanent environment, animal, and residual as random effects. Management group was a significant source of variation. Least squares means of juniper consumption, as a percentage of the total intake, for management groups varied from 19 to 47%. Heritability of juniper consumption was 13%. Repeatability of juniper consumption was 31%. These results suggest that progress to selection for goats that will consume greater amounts of juniper is obtainable, but is expected to be slow.
author list (cited authors)
Waldron, D. F., Taylor, C. A., Walker, J. W., Campbell, E. S., Lupton, C. J., Willingham, T. D., & Landau, S. Y.