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Research article2014Peer reviewedOpen access

Genetic parameters for feed intake, litter weight, body condition and rebreeding success in primiparous Norwegian Landrace sows

Lundgren, Helena; Fikse, Freddy; Grandinson, Katja Ulrika; Lundeheim, Nils; Canario, Laurienne; Vangen, O.; Olsen, D.; Rydhmer, Lotta


The aim of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for feed intake recorded as farmers' perception of young sows' appetite for the first 3 weeks of lactation (APP) and feed intake recorded for one day in the 3rd week of lactation (FEED), litter weight (LW) at 3 weeks, sow body condition at weaning (BC) and the following five reproduction traits: weaning-to-service interval of 1 to 7 days (WSI7), weaning-to-service interval of 1 to 50 days (WSI50), delayed service or not (DELAYED), pregnant on first service or not (PREGNANT) and litter size in 2nd parity (NBT2). The analyses included data on 4606 Norwegian Landrace 1st-parity sows and their litters. The Gibbs sampling method was used. The traits DELAYED and PREGNANT were analysed as threshold traits and APP, FEED, LW, BC, WSI7, WSI50 and NBT2 were analysed as linear traits. The heritability estimates for APP and FEED were low (<0.1), whereas the estimates for DELAYED and PREGNANT were rather high (0.4 and 0.3). The heritability estimate for BC was 0.2. The genetic correlations confirmed the complexity of breeding for sow performance; selection for heavy 1st litters may lead to lower body condition at weaning, which in turn leads to lower reproductive performance and smaller litters in 2nd parity. Selection for higher sow feed intake would improve body condition, but the simple way of measuring feed intake tested in this study (APP and FEED) cannot be recommended because of the low heritability obtained for these traits.


pig; heritability; appetite; piglet growth; pregnancy

Published in

2014, Volume: 8, number: 2, pages: 175-183