Maternal protective behaviour of German Angus and Simmental beef cattle after parturition and its relation to production traits
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A total of 390 German Angus (Aberdeen Angus x German dual-purpose breeds) and Simmental cows were tested in seven consecutive years (2000-2006) for maternal protective behaviour which was assessed by categorising behavioural response of the darns during earmarking their calves. The test was conducted within 24 h after parturition by the same person. Analysis of variance of maternal protective behaviour scores (MBS) was performed using a model including breed, lactation-number and calving month as fixed effects as well as the interaction between breed and lactation-number. The cow was included as a random effect. Breed, lactation-number and the interaction breed x lactation-number highly affected MBS. German Angus was scored higher than Simmental as well as cows with higher lactation-numbers in comparison to younger cows. Heritability was estimated under consideration of the whole relationship matrix and differed between 0.14 (S.E. 0.08) for German Angus and 0.42 (S.E. 0.05) for Simmental. Repeatabilities for MBS were 0.24 (S.E. 0.04) for German Angus and 0.42 (S.E. 0.05) for Simmental, respectively. Weaning weights and average daily weight gains of the calves were not correlated with maternal protective behaviour scores. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.