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Animal Reproduction and Physiology
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 1994;7(2): 255-260.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.1994.255    Published online June 1, 1994.
Sources of variation in calving difficulty in beef heifers
U. Paputungan, M. Makarechian, M. F. Liu
Calving records of 107 heifers from two breed groups were used to identify the major factors contributing to calving difficulty (dystocia) and compare the influence of pelvic diabeters, weight and height of heifers measured after breeding and before calving on dystocia. The horizontal and vertical pelvic diameters, hip height and weight of heifers were measured two months after breeding and again two months before calving. Snell transformed calving difficulty scores (0 = normal to 100 = surgical intervention) were used in analyzing the data by analysis of covariance. Body condition score of the heifer, sire birth weight of the calf, birth weight of the calf, and ratio of calf birth weight to pelvic area all had significant effects on dystocia. Calf birth weight, ratio of calf birth weight to pelvic area, and heifer`s condition score were especially important. However, sex of calf did not have a significant influence on dystocia. Generally, the variables measured before calving accounted for a higher proportion of variation in dystocia than those measured after breeding. Thus, based on the relative importance of the major factors affecting dystocia, it is suggested that selection of bulls with low birth weight for breeding on normal size heifers with optimum body condition score, and well developed pelvic opening, would be effective in reducing the incidence and severity of dystocia in beef heifers.
Keywords: Beef Heifers; Pelvic Measurements; Dystocia

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