Iberian x Meishan F2 piglet's preweaning survivability was analyzed using categorical data regression procedures within the proportional hazards assumption. A frailty sire model was assumed with the litter effect treated as an additional random source of variation. Moreover, the relative birth weight within litter and the litter effect were considered time-dependent covariates that changed their values in the second day of life due to cross fostering carried out to standardize litters. Six variables had a significant effect on survivability: birth weight (P < 0.01), relative birth weight within litter (P < 0.001), rectal temperature 60 min after birth (P < 0.01), type of presentation at birth (P < 0.05), presence of stillbirths (P < 0.001), and presence of mummified fetuses (P < 0.001). Small piglets (<0.98 kg) suffered a high hazard ratio (6.57; P < 0.001), with this variable being clearly lower for the rest of birth weight categories. Piglets that were small in relation to their siblings (relative birth weight within litter) also suffered an increased death risk, with a hazard ratio of 1.81 (P < 0.05), which was similar to animals with posterior presentations at birth (hazard ratio = 1.80; P < 0.05). Piglets with a rectal temperature lower than 35.4°C 60 min after birth showed the highest hazard ratio (7.18; P < 0.01). Furthermore, the presence of mummified fetuses decreased the survivability of the remaining siblings, with a hazard ratio of 2.03 (P < 0.01), as did the presence of stillbirths (hazard ratio = 3.55; P < 0.001). The inclusion of the two random effects allowed us to estimate the mode of the joint posterior density of the sire variance (0.08) and the litter variance (1.98). The estimated heritability of preweaning survival reached a value of 0.03. We conclude that piglet survival involves several systematic influences related to birth weight, thermoregulatory ability, and injuries suffered during gestation and farrowing. The genetic variance was small compared with those generated by the common environment, for which the genetic improvement of piglet survival seems difficult. ©2004 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 2004|
- Categorical Survival Analysis
- F Piglets 2
- Preweaning Survival
- Proportional Hazards