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Important Traits in Farm Animal Traits in farm animals can be categorized into five features namely reproductive, production,

quality, aesthetic and behavioural traits. 1. Reproductive traits are also referred as fitness traits that are normally concerned with reproduction and viability. Examples of such traits are litter size, conception rate, calving interval, gestation length, survival ability, etc. 2. Production traits include milk yield, growth rate, feed efficiency, weaning weight, wool yield, egg production etc. 3. Quality traits are referred to meat and milk, wool and eggs quality. Meat quality refers to carcass composition, backfat thickness in pig, eye muscle area in all carcass, meat quality, milk fat percentage. 4. Aesthetic traits are usually features of a more aesthetic nature where personal preference in important. Examples include coat colour, coat type, udder shape, physical appearance, horn shape, etc. 5. Behavioural traits are those involved in animal welfare. Example include docility of pet dogs, bulls for ploughing, horse for riding, etc.

Important Traits in Farm Animal While all traits are important, it is imperative to decide on the merit of each trait since inclusion of many traits in breeding is difficult and improvement of each trait is slower. What are the important traits of animals under Bhutanese farming system? We know that some traits are controlled by single genes while some traits are affected by several genes. Based on the theory of basic genetics, low means the traits improvement is slower due to various factors and may achieve only around 15% of genetic improvement over the next generation. For example if the calving interval (CI) of Siri Cow is 450 days and we improved CI by reducing to 400 days through breeding program, we have achieved by 11 % genetic improvement. It is considered low heritability. Similarly if the genetic improvement achieved is around 20 to 50%, it could be considered as medium and if we get more than 50%, the genetic improvement would be showing faster progress. Few Examples of important economic traits in farm animals are listed as follows:
A. Dairy Cattle i. Reproductive Traits - AFC, Services per conception, service period, calving interval, twinning, dystokia.

ii. Production traits - Milk yield per lactation

iii. Quality traits - Milk fat composition - Milk protein composition - Somatic cell counts iv. Aesthetic traits - Polled - Soft skin v. Behavioural traits - Temperament B. Pig i. Reproductive Traits - Litter size - Litter per year - Survival ability

ii. Production traits - Weaning weight - Slaughter weight - Age at slaughter iii. Quality traits - Lean carcass - Dressing percentage - Fat depth iv. Aesthetic traits - Skin colour - Teat numbers v. Behavioural traits - Temperament C. Sheep i. Reproductive Traits - Age at first mating, litters per year.

ii. Production traits - Fleece diameter, fleece weight, iii. Quality traits - Medullation, killing out per cent iv. Aesthetic traits - Polled v. Behavioural traits - Temperament

A. Important Traits in Horse Traits Importance to Bhutanese Farming system Low Medium High

Reproductive - Age at first foaling - Longevity Production Quality - Carrying capacity - Surefooted - Body conformation - Extremities - Disease resistance - Adaptability Aesthetic - Coat colour - Body marking Behavioural - Behaviour / vices - Strength, vigour, stamina - Gait B. Important Traits in Cattle Traits Reproductive - AFC - CI - Calving ease - Weaning age - Oestrous - Disease resistance - Adaptability Production - Milk yield - Udder size - Body size Quality - Milk constituent - Draft power - Meat quality Behavioural - Docileness - Milk let down Importance Medium

Low

High

- Pack Yak - Riding Aesthetic - Horn - Polled - Coat Colour C. Important Traits in Pig Traits Reproductive - Litter index - Litter size - Conception rate - Piglet birth weight Production - Daily weight gain - Carcass weight - Meat quality Quality Behavioural - Mating capability - Mothering capability - Docile Aesthetic - Coat colour D. Important Traits in Poultry Traits Low Reproductive - Age - Fertility - Disorder Production - Egg size - Number - Laying period Quality - Growth - Flavour and taste - Shell colour Behavioural - Broodiness Aesthetic Importance Medium Importance Medium

Low

High

High

Feather colour Fighting Body conformation

E. Important Traits in Sheep/ Goat

Traits Reproductive - Age at 1st lambing/kidding - Prolificacy / liter size Production - Wool - Meat - Milk Quality - Wool - Meat Behavioural - Cleanliness (Avoid wet places) - Aggressive Aesthetic - Horn - Polled - Colour F. Important Traits in Dog/Cat Traits Aesthetic - Colour - Body size - Ear size/shape - Eyes - Tail length Behaviour - Discipline - Temperament - Dutifulness - Cleanliness Reproduction - Litter size - Growth rate - Viability / Solvability Quality - Intelligence

Low

Importance Medium

High

Low

Importance Medium

High