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Estimating internal pelvic sizes using external body measurements in the double-muscled Belgian Bleu beef breed

  • Coopman, F.
  • Smet, S.
  • Gengler, N.
  • Haegeman, A.
  • Jacobs, K.
  • Laevens, H.
  • Groen, A.F.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2003
Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
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In the double-muscled (DM) Belgian Blue beef (BBB) breed, caesarean section (CS) is being applied systematically as a management tool to prevent dystocia. As a matter of fact, CS is the only possible way of calving in the breed. High birth weight and a relatively small pelvic area are the main causes of dystocia and, in the DM-BBB breed, the reasons for the systematically applied CS. Selection for lower birth weight and larger pelvic sizes might reduce dystocia and routine CS. Few data on inner pelvic sizes of pedigree animals are available. Using external measurements to estimate the inner pelvic sizes might be an option to resolve this problem. In this study, animals of the DM-BBB breed were measured and weighed on farms and in abattoirs. External and internal pelvic sizes increased with live weight and age of the animals. Gender had a significant influence on inner pelvic traits. Increased muscular conformation was associated with decreased inner pelvic dimensions. Models with weight, gender, age, withers height and outer pelvic width (TcTc) can be used to estimate inner pelvic sizes (R-2 between 0.35 and 0.77). The estimated inner pelvic sizes can then be used to genetically evaluate pelvic traits in the DM-BBB breed. Improving weight, withers height and TcTc width in combination with lowering muscular conformation may help to decrease the high rate of caesarean section in the DM-BBB.

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