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Keywords:

  • Claw disorder;
  • dairy cow;
  • genetic correlation;
  • heritability

Summary

Genetic parameters for different claw disorders, overall claw health and feet and leg conformation traits were estimated for Finnish Ayrshire cows. The merged data set with records of claw health and feet and leg conformation traits consisted of 105 000 observations from 52 598 Finnish Ayrshire cows between 2000 and 2010. The binary claw health data and the linearly scored conformation data were analysed using an animal model and restricted maximum likelihood method by applying the statistical package ASReml. Binomial logistic models with mixed effects were used to estimate genetic parameters for sole haemorrhages, chronic laminitis, white-line separation, sole ulcer, interdigital dermatitis, heel horn erosion, digital dermatitis, corkscrew claw and overall claw health. Estimated heritabilities for different claw disorders using a binomial logistic model ranged from 0.01 to 0.20. Estimated heritability for overall claw health using a binomial logistic model was 0.08. Estimated heritabilities for feet and leg conformation traits ranged from 0.07 to 0.39. The genetic correlations between claw health and feet and leg conformation traits ranged from −0.40 to 0.42. All phenotypic correlations were close to zero. The moderate genetic correlation, together with higher heritability of feet and leg conformation traits, showed that RLSV (rear leg side view) is a useful indicator trait to be used together with claw trimming information to increase the accuracy of breeding values for claw health in genetic evaluation.