Milk production of the mother is associated with the birth weight rather than the sex of the calf

M.H.P.W. Visker, Y. Wang, M.L. van Pelt, H. Bovenhuis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstractAcademic

Abstract

The amount of milk that mammals produce can be different after giving birth to offspring of different sexes. Usually, if there is any sex-bias, giving birth to male offspring leads to a higher milk volume and/or milk with a higher energy content. However, a study on US dairy cows showed higher 305-day milk yield after giving birth to female calves. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of the sex of the calf on the subsequent 305-day milk production in Dutch dairy cows. Milk production records of 1,615,765 lactations of 861,273 Holstein Friesian cows from 7,303 herds throughout the Netherlands were used for analysis. Plain averages suggest that giving birth to male calves results in higher 305-day milk production: differences up to 90 kg are found in lactation 2 and 4. This changes dramatically when including gestation length, lactation length, calving ease and birth weight as fixed effects, and sire of cow and herd-year-season as random effects in the analysis. The effect of the sex of the calf on the subsequent 305-day milk yield is significant only for lactation 1 and 3, with a small positive effect after giving birth to a female calf in the first lactation and a small positive effect after giving birth to a male calf in the third lactation. The effect of the birth weight of the calf is significant in all lactations and seems more substantial: a calf of 55 kg instead of 25 kg at birth is associated with a 305-day milk production that is about 800 kg higher. What at first glance appears to be an effect of the sex of the calf is actually a confounding effect of the birth weight of the calf, because male calves tend to be heavier than female calves. It is not clear whether previous reports of sexbiased milk production can also be attributed to differences in birth weight of the offspring of different sexes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Pages522-522
ISBN (Print)9789086862696
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventEAAP - 66th Annual Meeting 2015 - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 31 Aug 20154 Sep 2015

Conference

ConferenceEAAP - 66th Annual Meeting 2015
CountryPoland
CityWarsaw
Period31/08/154/09/15

Fingerprint

birth weight
milk production
calves
gender
lactation
milk
milk yield
dairy cows
herds
cows
energy content
sires
calving
Netherlands
Holstein
pregnancy
mammals

Cite this

Visker, M. H. P. W., Wang, Y., van Pelt, M. L., & Bovenhuis, H. (2015). Milk production of the mother is associated with the birth weight rather than the sex of the calf. In Book of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (pp. 522-522). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
Visker, M.H.P.W. ; Wang, Y. ; van Pelt, M.L. ; Bovenhuis, H. / Milk production of the mother is associated with the birth weight rather than the sex of the calf. Book of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science. Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2015. pp. 522-522
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Visker, MHPW, Wang, Y, van Pelt, ML & Bovenhuis, H 2015, Milk production of the mother is associated with the birth weight rather than the sex of the calf. in Book of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, pp. 522-522, EAAP - 66th Annual Meeting 2015, Warsaw, Poland, 31/08/15.

Milk production of the mother is associated with the birth weight rather than the sex of the calf. / Visker, M.H.P.W.; Wang, Y.; van Pelt, M.L.; Bovenhuis, H.

Book of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science. Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2015. p. 522-522.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstractAcademic

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N2 - The amount of milk that mammals produce can be different after giving birth to offspring of different sexes. Usually, if there is any sex-bias, giving birth to male offspring leads to a higher milk volume and/or milk with a higher energy content. However, a study on US dairy cows showed higher 305-day milk yield after giving birth to female calves. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of the sex of the calf on the subsequent 305-day milk production in Dutch dairy cows. Milk production records of 1,615,765 lactations of 861,273 Holstein Friesian cows from 7,303 herds throughout the Netherlands were used for analysis. Plain averages suggest that giving birth to male calves results in higher 305-day milk production: differences up to 90 kg are found in lactation 2 and 4. This changes dramatically when including gestation length, lactation length, calving ease and birth weight as fixed effects, and sire of cow and herd-year-season as random effects in the analysis. The effect of the sex of the calf on the subsequent 305-day milk yield is significant only for lactation 1 and 3, with a small positive effect after giving birth to a female calf in the first lactation and a small positive effect after giving birth to a male calf in the third lactation. The effect of the birth weight of the calf is significant in all lactations and seems more substantial: a calf of 55 kg instead of 25 kg at birth is associated with a 305-day milk production that is about 800 kg higher. What at first glance appears to be an effect of the sex of the calf is actually a confounding effect of the birth weight of the calf, because male calves tend to be heavier than female calves. It is not clear whether previous reports of sexbiased milk production can also be attributed to differences in birth weight of the offspring of different sexes.

AB - The amount of milk that mammals produce can be different after giving birth to offspring of different sexes. Usually, if there is any sex-bias, giving birth to male offspring leads to a higher milk volume and/or milk with a higher energy content. However, a study on US dairy cows showed higher 305-day milk yield after giving birth to female calves. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of the sex of the calf on the subsequent 305-day milk production in Dutch dairy cows. Milk production records of 1,615,765 lactations of 861,273 Holstein Friesian cows from 7,303 herds throughout the Netherlands were used for analysis. Plain averages suggest that giving birth to male calves results in higher 305-day milk production: differences up to 90 kg are found in lactation 2 and 4. This changes dramatically when including gestation length, lactation length, calving ease and birth weight as fixed effects, and sire of cow and herd-year-season as random effects in the analysis. The effect of the sex of the calf on the subsequent 305-day milk yield is significant only for lactation 1 and 3, with a small positive effect after giving birth to a female calf in the first lactation and a small positive effect after giving birth to a male calf in the third lactation. The effect of the birth weight of the calf is significant in all lactations and seems more substantial: a calf of 55 kg instead of 25 kg at birth is associated with a 305-day milk production that is about 800 kg higher. What at first glance appears to be an effect of the sex of the calf is actually a confounding effect of the birth weight of the calf, because male calves tend to be heavier than female calves. It is not clear whether previous reports of sexbiased milk production can also be attributed to differences in birth weight of the offspring of different sexes.

M3 - Abstract

SN - 9789086862696

SP - 522

EP - 522

BT - Book of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science

PB - Wageningen Academic Publishers

CY - Wageningen

ER -

Visker MHPW, Wang Y, van Pelt ML, Bovenhuis H. Milk production of the mother is associated with the birth weight rather than the sex of the calf. In Book of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers. 2015. p. 522-522