In the double-muscled (DM) Belgian Blue Beef (BBB) breed, caesarean section (CS) is used as a routine management tool to prevent dystocia. This practice is criticized on animal welfare grounds. With unassisted (natural) births, difficulties arise because of disproportion between the sizes of the newborn and inner pelvic sizes of the dam. In this study external morphological traits of newborns are compared with inner morphological traits of the dam. Results of this study indicate that in the DM-BBB, CS is the only means to successful calving. Therefore, no calving ease scores are available to select for less dystocia in this breed. Selection for fewer CS must be achieved by focusing on lower birth weight (BW) and decreased muscular conformation at birth, both having a sufficiently high heritability. Simultaneously, pelvic sizes of the dam should be increased. It is very likely that the look of the DM-BBB will change when selecting for less dystocia.
- calving ease