Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Animal Science]]> vol. 38 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Genetic analysis of somatic cell score and udder type traits in South African Holstein cows</b>]]> Selection accuracy for resistance to mastitis may be increased by combining somatic cell score (SCS) and udder type into an udder health index, using genetic parameter estimates among them. A multi-trait animal model was used to estimate genetic parameters among lactation average SCS and udder type traits in South African Holstein cattle, through REML procedures. Data comprised records on 22 999 Holstein cows in 722 herds, collected through the National Milk Recording Scheme from 1996 to 2002. Average SCS in the first three lactations (SCS1, SCS2, SCS3) were considered as different traits and the udder type traits were fore udder attachment (FUA), rear udder height (RUH), udder cleft (UC), udder depth (UD), fore teat length (FTL) and fore teat placement (FTP). Heritability estimates for SCS were 0.19 ± 0.02, 0.17 ± 0.02 and 0.19 ± 0.02, respectively for SCS1, SCS2 and SCS3. Udder type traits had heritability estimates ranging from 0.13 ± 0.01 for UC to 0.34 ± 0.01 for FTL. The genetic correlations between lactation SCS ranged from 0.82 ± 0.04 to 0.99 ± 0.03 for correlations of SCS3 with SCS1 and SCS2, respectively. Genetic correlations between SCS and udder type traits were in the range -0.01 ± 0.07 between FUA and SCS3 to -0.38 ± 0.04 between UD and SCS1 and SCS2. Slow genetic progress is expected when selection is applied independently on SCS and udder type traits, due to the generally low heritability estimates. Low, shallow udders with narrowly placed teats are associated with low SCS in the South African Holstein population. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of dietary conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the growth and lipid metabolism of geese and fatty acid composition of their tissues</b>]]> The objective of this study was to determine the effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) oil supplementation on the growth performance and lipid metabolism in geese and the fatty acid concentrations in their liver and muscle tissues. One hundred and ninety two one-day old geese were randomly assigned to one of four dietary treatments. The diet in Group A, the control, contained 2.5% soyabean oil, that in Group B 2.0% soyabean oil and 0.5% CLA, that in Group C 1.0% soybean oil and 1.5% CLA and that in Group D 2.5% CLA. The birds were fed for 56 days. No significant effects were observed in body weight and body weight gain between Groups B, C and the control, but these parameters were significantly lower in Group D compared to the control. The feed intake, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and abdominal fat percentage (AFP) were significantly lower in the groups receiving CLA in their diets compared with the control. Dietary CLA altered serum lipid concentrations by decreasing total cholesterol, triglyceride and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations, the atherogenic index and activity of lipoprotein lipase, and increased serum concentration of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol. The fatty acid composition of the liver and muscle tissues showed significant increases in the biologically active cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 CLA isomers in the geese fed increasing levels of CLA. The supplementation of CLA to the geese led to significant increases in saturated fatty acid concentrations and significant reductions in the monounsaturated fatty acid concentrations in liver and muscle tissues. The results clearly demonstrated that geese can successfully incorporate CLA in their liver and muscle tissues, thus producing a healthy food for humans. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of dietary probiotic and prebiotic supplementation on growth performance and serum IgG concentration of broilers</b>]]> This study was conducted to investigate the effects of probiotic and/or prebiotic supplementation on growth performance and serum IgG concentrations in broilers. One thousand two hundred one-day old Ross-308 broiler chicks of mixed sex were randomly divided into four treatment groups of 300 birds each. The treatments were: Starter diets: 1) Unsupplemented control diet; 2) Probiotic (Bio-Plus 2B® 0.05%); 3) Prebiotic (Bio-Mos® 0.2%); 4) Probiotic and Prebiotic mixture (Bio-Plus 2B® 0.05% and Bio-Mos® 0.2%). The grower diets were: 1) Control with no supplements; 2) Probiotic (Bio-Plus 2B® 0.05%); 3) Prebiotic (Bio-Mos® 0.1%); 4) Probiotic and Prebiotic mixture (Bio-Plus 2B® 0.05% and Bio-Mos® 0.1%). Each treatment group was further sub-divided into five replicates of 60 birds per replicate. The chicks were fed the broiler starter diet for the first 21 d and the broiler grower diet between days 22 and 42. Dietary probiotic and/or prebiotic supplementation did not significantly affect body weight, body weight gain, feed intake, carcass weight, carcass yield or concentration of immunoglobulin (IgG) in the serum. However, feed conversion ratio was improved significantly in the supplemented treatments compared to the unsupplemented control. Probiotic and/or prebiotic supplementation did not significantly affect any of the examined parameters except for an improved feed conversion ratio. <![CDATA[<b>Across flock genetic parameter estimation for yearling body weight and fleece traits in the South African Dohne Merino population</b>]]> Accurate genetic parameter estimates are needed upon which to perform multiple-trait across flock breed analyses. Genetic parameters for yearling body weight (BW), clean fleece weight (CFW) and mean fibre diameter (MFD) were estimated using records of 107 389 individuals (the progeny of 1 530 sires and 45 178 dams) collected between 1992 and 2004 in the South African Dohne Merino population. Fixed effects included in the model were flock-year-season-sex-management group (1 594 classes), type of birth (singles, multiples), age of dam (2 - 7+ years) and age at measurement, fitted as a linear covariate (385 ± 12 days). Six different single-trait animal models were fitted, where different combinations of the following random effects were fitted: direct additive, the sire-flock interaction, the sire-flock-year-season interaction (SFYS), the dam genetic effect, the direct-maternal correlation and the dam permanent environmental effect. These analyses were followed by a three-trait analysis structured according to the log likelihood ratios obtained for the single-trait analysis. This analysis allowed the calculation of relevant correlations among traits together with their respective standard errors. Direct heritability estimates from the three-trait analysis were 0.17 for BW, 0.19 for CFW and 0.45 for MFD. Maternal heritability estimates were 0.01 for BW and 0.006 for CFW, with corresponding dam permanent environmental ratios of respectively 0.03 and 0.02. The genetic correlation between animal effects amounted to 0.48 for BW. Derived proportions of the total phenotypic variance due to SFYS were 0.02, 0.02 and 0.02, respectively. Genetic correlations of BW with CFW and MFD were 0.11 and 0.13, respectively, and of CFW with MFD 0.16. It was concluded that the inclusion of some form of a genotype by environmental interaction as part of the national evaluation is essential, although it controlled only a modest portion of the overall phenotypic variation. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of plant age on the chemical composition of fresh and ensiled <i>Agave salmiana</i> leaves</b>]]> In the first study dry matter (DM), organic matter, crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and soluble carbohydrate (SC) concentrations were determined in whole leaves and the upper and lower sections of whole leaves of the Agave salmiana (Otto ex. Salm-Dyck) plant. The pH and saponin concentration were measured in aqueous extracts from these leaves. The leaves were collected from plants at the young (ca. 12 years old), bud (ca. 14 years old) and mature (ca. 16 years old) stages of growth. The CP level of young Agave (48 g/kg DM) leaves was higher than in leaves from the bud (38 g/kg DM) and mature (43 g/kg DM) stages, and higher in the upper (51 g/kg DM) than in the lower (35 g/kg DM) leaf sections. The leaves at the bud stage contained lower NDF (189 g/kg DM) but higher SC (358 g/kg DM) levels than those of mature (272 g NDF, 247 g SC/kg DM) and young (273 g NDF, 189 g SC) plants. The saponin content of leaves was higher in the mature (11.1 g/kg DM) than in the bud stage (7.5 g/kg DM). In the second study the chemical composition of whole leaves from young, bud and mature micro-ensilaged (3.5 kg as fed) Agave was determined over a 36 weeks fermentation period. Agave silage had acceptable chemical characteristics. As time of fermentation increased, a linear decrease in DM and saponin concentration, a linear increase in NDF and lactic acid levels and a quadratic increase of pH values and ammonia-N concentrations were recorded. Both fresh and ensilaged leaves of the mature and the bud stages were the most desirable maturity stages of Agave to be utilised as feed for ruminants. <![CDATA[<b>The use of a cluster analysis in across herd genetic evaluation for beef cattle</b>]]> To investigate the possibility of a genotype x environment interaction in Bonsmara cattle, a cluster analysis was performed on weaning weight records of 72 811 Bonsmara calves, the progeny of 1 434 sires and 24 186 dams in 35 herds. The following environmental factors were used to classify herds into clusters: solution for herd effects corrected for year-season, sex, age of dam and age at weaning (indicative of the management level in a herd), herd size and average temperature and rainfall. Two different genetic analyses were performed. Breeding values obtained in a univariate analysis were used as basis for comparison to breeding values obtained from a multivariate analysis where weaning weight in each cluster was considered as a separate trait. Direct additive, maternal additive, permanent maternal environment and Herd-Year-Season x Sire (HYSxS) interaction were included as random effects in both analyses. The direct genetic correlations between the clusters varied between 0.51 and 1.00. The low correlation estimates between some of the clusters indicate a possible genotype x environment interaction. Substantial reranking of sires between clusters did occur. However, further research is needed to identify and prioritize variables that can describe the genetics, management and climate of each herd more accurately. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of short-term pre-hatch heat shock of incubating eggs-on subsequent broiler performance</b>]]> The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of thermal conditioning of broiler chickens during embryonic development on subsequent performance under standard rearing conditions. During incubation eggs from 32-, 45- and 56-week old Ross 308 broiler parent stock were subjected to a 2 h heat shock of 39 °C on days 14 and 15 of incubation. Eggs in the control were incubated throughout incubation at 37 °C. Chicks were feather sexed and equal numbers of each sex were placed in each pen per treatment, and reared for 42 days. Live weight, mortality and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were used as measures of performance. The final (six-week) live weights of broilers from young, mid and older parents for the treatment and control groups were 2113 ± 13.8 vs. 2159 ± 20.0, 2084 ± 29.2 vs. 2139 ± 20.0 and 2096 ± 17.6 vs. 2131 ± 24.3 g, respectively. The six-week live weight of the heat-treated group (2098 ± 12.0 g) was significantly lower than that of the control (2143 ± 12.2 g). The 1-6 week mortality figure was significantly lower in the heat-treated group of chickens from the young (83) and mid parent (77) groups compared to their controls (130 and 119), respectively. However, in the treatment group the incidence of mortality in broilers from the older parent group was significantly higher (105) than that of the control (79). The overall mortality without considering the parent age group was significantly lower in the treatment group (265) than in the control group (328). Mean FCR (g feed/g gain) of the chickens of the three parent groups was 1.79 ± 0.02 vs. 1.75 ± 0.03, 1.85 ± 0.03 vs. 1.77 ± 0.02 and 1.80 ± 0.03 vs. 1.77 ± 0.03 for the treatment vs. control groups, respectively, but the difference was significant only in the mid age parent group. These results suggest that prenatal thermal conditioning is not detrimental to broiler growth under standard rearing conditions in the absence of thermal stress. However, survival rate was improved but live weight and FCR were in some cases significantly poorer. <![CDATA[<b>Live weight and reproduction performance of Zimbabwean Blue and South African Black ostriches</b>]]> Data obtained from a pair-mated ostrich flock located at Oudtshoorn in South Africa were used to derive line differences for live weight and reproduction performance in sexually mature ostriches of the Zimbabwean Blue (ZB) and South African Black (SAB) strains during 2003 to 2006. At the commencement of breeding ZB breeding stock were, on average, between 9 and 13% heavier than SAB contemporaries. At the cessation of breeding the superiority of ZB birds was reduced to between 4 and 8%, expressed relative to SAB breeding stock. Live weight at the commencement of breeding was complicated by an interaction between sire line and year. The interaction resulted from no line differences between SAB and ZB males in 2003, contrasted to marked differences in subsequent years. Egg production was affected by dam line, but not by the line of the sire or the interaction between dam line and sire line. Egg production of SAB females was almost twice that of ZB contemporaries, at respectively 43.3 and 23.3 eggs per season. The number of infertile eggs was not affected by any of the independent variables considered. The number of shell deaths was affected by both sire line and dam line. Overall, SAB females sustained lower levels of shell deaths than ZB females, while the eggs produced by mates of SAB males had higher shell deaths than mates of ZB males. Chick production was affected by dam line; the effects of sire line and the dam line x sire line interaction being non significant. Overall, SAB females produced more than double the number of chicks produced by their ZB contemporaries, at respectively 23.1 and 10.6 chicks per season. Both egg production and chick production were affected by a dam line x year interaction. No dam line difference was observed during 2003, whereas SAB females clearly outperformed ZB females in subsequent years. Further studies on the ostrich bloodlines and their crosses are needed to devise a selection and crossbreeding strategy for improving production and profitability in the industry. <![CDATA[<b>Determination of metabolisable energy of five cultivars of hulless barley using adult leghorn cockerels</b>]]> Hulless barley contains more digestible nutrients than do whole barleys due to a lower content of indigestible fibre, but also contains a higher concentration of β-glucans. The chemical composition and apparent metabolisable energy (AME) of five cultivars (3, 7, 12, 15 and KC-31) of hulless barley were determined with adult Leghorn cockerels using a precision-feeding method. Cultivars KC-31 and 15 had the highest (121 g/kg) and lowest (87 g/kg) levels of crude protein, respectively. The AMEn for the five cultivars was 13.91, 12.20, 12.88, 13.23 and 10.95 MJ/kg DM, respectively. The true metabolisable energy corrected for nitrogen of the above cultivars was 14.37, 12.66, 13.34, 13.69 and 11.41 MJ/kg DM, respectively. Cultivar 3 contained the highest AME and TME levels, and differences between cultivars were significant. In general hulless barley can be used as a source of energy in poultry diets. <![CDATA[<b>Shelled acorn seed (<i>Quercus cerris</i>) as a diet ingredient on the performance of growing Japanese quail</b>]]> This study was carried out to investigate the effects of dietary inclusion of shelled acorn seed (Quercus cerris) on the growth performance and carcass yield of Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Four hundred four-day old quail chicks were used in this study. Experimental diets contained 0, 5, 10, 15 or 20% shelled acorn seed. The experiment lasted 38 days. There were no differences between treatments in body weight, body weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio. Furthermore, the mortality rate and carcass yield were not affected by the inclusion in the diet of different levels of shelled acorn seed. The inclusion of shelled acorn seed to the quail diets did not cause any harmful effect on the health of the birds. These results suggested that up to 20% shelled acorn seed could be included as an energy source in quail diets.