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Genetic parameters for early piglet weight, litter traits and number of functional teats in organic pigs

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Knowledge remains limited on genetic variation and genetic correlations for traits in sows and piglets that are reared in an organic or outdoor setting. Here, we estimated genetic variance components for individual piglet weight, litter weight, litter size traits, and number of functional teats in a pig population raised under outdoor organic conditions. Data were collected from the largest organic multiplier farm in Denmark. Individual piglet weight was recorded at birth and on day 10. Number of live and dead piglets were recorded at birth, day 4, and day 11. Mean and total litter weight were calculated based on the individual weight of living piglets at birth and on day 10. The estimated heritability was highest for the number of functional teats (0.49), mean weight of a litter at birth (0.33) and on day 10 (0.25). In contrast, heritability was lowest for litter size traits (0.04–0.08) and piglet weight (0.06–0.07). Maternal heritability was much higher for individual piglet weight than direct heritability. The results showed that selection for higher mean weight results in smaller litters. Also, selection for individual birth weight of piglets results in heavier piglets at 10 days. In conclusion, this study confirmed that there is genetic variation in individual piglet weight, litter traits, and number of functional teats in organically and outdoor-reared pigs.

StatusUdgivet - mar. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This study was part of the project “An efficient program for producing organic replacement gilts (PorganiX)”. PorganiX was funded by the Green Development and Demonstration Programme under Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Grant No. 34009-17-1297.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

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