Selection for linear traits for legs and feet and its significance for dairy cattle breeding

I. Marinov

Abstract. Selection based on real problems with the legs and feet – the case of lameness, has low efficiency. Linear type traits describing the structural differences in different body parts including those of the legs and feet can be evaluated directly in a large number of animals at an early stage in the life of cows, by not a large number of specialists. Type traits of legs and feet have low to medium heritability values. There is a genetic relationship both among the various linear foot and leg traits and between them and the issues with animal locomotion. The selection for optimal angle of the foot and the rear leg side view, straight rear legs rear/back view, flat and refined bones and proper locomotion – will result in reduced locomotion problems and diseases of the legs and feet in dairy cows. Negative correlation has been found between problems with legs and feet, milk production and reproductive performance. Problems with legs and feet are one of the causes of premature culling and reduced longevity of dairy cows.