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Phenotypic and genetic relationships among feeding behavior traits, feed intake, and residual feed intake in steers fed grower and finisher diets



Phenotypic and genetic relationships among feeding behavior traits, feed intake, and residual feed intake in steers fed grower and finisher diets



Journal of Animal Science 89(11): 3401-3409



Data from a 3-yr feeding trial of crossbred steers (n = 331) were used to examine the relationship between feeding behavior traits and feed efficiency in steers fed grower and finisher diets, successively. There were 2 feeding periods each year whereby the steers were fed a grower diet in the first feeding period (P1) and a finisher diet in the second feeding period (P2). Each feeding period lasted for a minimum of 1 wk, ad libitum. In addition to feed intake, records on 3 measures of feeding behavior [feeding duration (FD), head-down time (HDT), and feeding frequency (FF)] were collected using the GrowSafe feeding system. Residual feed intake (RFI) was calculated by regression, after which the steers were classified as low (<.5 SD), medium (±.5 SD), or high (>.5 SD) from the mean. The steers had greater (P < .1) FD, HDT, and FF when the grower diet was fed but greater feeding rate (FR) when the finisher diet was fed. Including the measures of feeding behavior as covariates to the feed intake prediction model containing ADG, metabolic midweight, and ultrasound backfat accounted for more variation in DMI than models that did not contain these additional parameters. The FD and HDT were significantly different (P < .5) among the RFI classes regardless of the feeding period, whereas no differences (P > .9) were found for FR among the RFI classes. For the growing period and finishing period, respectively, FD had phenotypic correlations with HDT (.79, .83), FF (.14, .55), DMI (.38, .34), and FR (–.34, –.21). Heritability estimates in P1 and P2 for FD, HDT, and FF were .25 ± .16, .14 ± .11; .14 ± .15, .9 ± .1; and .56 ± .19, .59 ± .18, respectively. Genetic correlations between P1 and P2 were .91 ± .26, .93 ± .37, and .94 ± .11 for FD, HDT, and FF, respectively. The results suggest that it may be appropriate to include feeding behavior traits as covariates to indicate measure(s) of animal activity in the calculation of RFI. Feeding behavior phenotypes were greater during the grower-fed period than the finisher-fed period. During these feeding periods, efficient steers exhibited fewer FF, shorter FD, and shorter HDT than inefficient steers.

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Accession: 036234628

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21642495

DOI: 10.2527/jas.2011-3867



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