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Heritability Estimates of Lactation Traits in Maltese Goat

Authors: M. Selvaggi, C. Dario, R. Pesce Delfino, G. V. Celano


Data on 657 lactation from 163 Maltese goat, collected over a 5-year period were analyzed by a mixed model to estimate the variance components for heritability. The considered lactation traits were: milk yield (MY) and lactation length (LL). Year, parity and type of birth (single or twin) were significant sources of variation for lactation length; on the other hand milk yield was significantly influenced only by the year. The average MY was 352.34 kg and the average LL was 230 days. Estimates of heritability were 0.21 and 0.15 for MY and LL respectively. These values suggest there is low correlation between genotype and phenotype so it may be difficult to evaluate animals directly on phenotype. So, the genetic improvement of this breed may be quite slow without the support of progeny test aimed to select Maltese breeders.

Keywords: heritability estimate, lactation traits, Maltese goat

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