What is hereditary from a cow

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Angus Rocks

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Nov 21, 2016
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So have had cows for around 10 years and just started keeping our own replacements about 3 years ago and last year I bought some registered red and black Angus heifers and cows and have been thinking about what all passes on to the calves? For one thing one of the black cows I bought had a calf a few weeks ago and has a big udder and the back 2 quarters hang way lower her calf is a heifer so is this going to pass on to her calf or does she of that stuff come from the bull?
Wow 2017 and not sure what to say other than... Both parents equal in passing on all traits regardless of sex.
Grandparents too as that's where each parent received their genes.
Welcome to the world of craps. Throw the dice and see what happens. Sometimes the end result is a jackpot and sometimes it is just continual misery. But keep throwing loaded dice and the odds are more in your favor.
What all passes on to the calves?

Excepting the effects of mutations (which seem to be more prevalent in some breeds than others), the next generation gets everything that's needed to survive ... and if they don't get what they need, they die (or at least don't reproduce ... and if they do reproduce, they don't reproduce often).

As to the future udder on your new heifer ... look at your cow's dam, her half siblings (other cows stored by the same bull), her sires full sisters, her sires dam and her sisters ... if any of them are known and available ... and that should give you a sense (good and bad) for what the range of possibilities might be for you.

Good luck.
Inheritance is a function of random combinations of chromosomes during the genesis of the sperm and egg. How they are expressed in the offspring takes a college course in genetics to treat fairly.

But Aaron got it right. Think of it as a crap shoot. The percent of traits dictated by the maternal side can be anything from 10% to 70 %. The traits dictated by the paternal side can be anything from 10% to 70%. [Percentages are arbitrary] The calf is an expression of the sum of the genetic material from of all its ancestors. All the way back to the origins of life.
WalnutCrest":2i8mxlxh said:
Conception doesn't happen unless 100% of the needed genetics are present.

I thought that was the misunderstanding. Conception has already occurred at the point in my post that I get to percentages.

The arbitrary percentages I used are for the percent of visible traits observed in the offspring. I used arbitrary percentages because the state of the science has not advanced to the point that it is known what percentage of a paternal or maternal genome is expressed in the offspring.

Note: Remember, not all the genetic material in cell is expressed. One gene in each allele may or may not be expressed; in an allele one gene may suppress the other gene. That is where the terms dominant and recessive apply.

Reference: Allele: One member of a pair (or any of the series) of genes occupying a specific spot on a chromosome (called locus) that controls the same trait.
There are several things that will make me cull a cow, no question asked: slow breeder, bad bag, bad feet, or bad attitude. I won't keep a heifer from a cow that exhibited either of the first two, probably shouldn't keep one from a cow with the third, and take the fourth on a case by case basis.

Genetist are not usually breeders.

And breeders are rarely genetist. Read an article on breeding and you rarely get to the end without being aware they have some misunderstandings about the application of genetics to breeding.
Shoemaker is different in that regard; both a breeder and a geneticist. Look up his stuff on racing pigeons (etc); there is applicability to breeding of other types of critters, too.
I purchased the cow from a guy that was dispersing his herd so I don't have any siblings or parents to compare or look at. So pry a million dollar thought or question but why is everybody so concerned about getting this bull or that bull if they don't pass some good traits on? One other question does tit layout on a bull pass on to it's offspring? I think it was in goats that I seen some herd the owners kept records on that like it made a difference.
Chocolate Cow":153f1bo3 said:
Bonsma said everything is determined at the moment of conception.

The egg contributes half (haploid number) the chromosomes; the sperm contributes the other half (haploid number). They combine to form a zygote (diploid number). From the standpoint of genetic material, yes, it is all there at the moment of conception.

There is the effect that the environment plays. For example, two identical genomes will respond differently if the nutrition levels are vastly different, etc.
Angus Rocks ask:

1. why is everybody so concerned about getting this bull or that bull if they don't pass some good traits on?

Response: the bull contributes half the chromosomes. In cattle, there are 60 chromosomes. So his spermatozoa will contribute 30 chromosomes to the offspring. If he is a proven bull that has demonstrated that he carries dominant desirable traits, he will have a positive effect on the offspring.

2. One other question, does udder and teat layout on a bull pass on to its offspring?

Response: The bull will influence udder and teat characteristics. If the bulls ancestors had desirable udder and teat traits, he will pass those traits on to his offspring especially if he is a bull that has demonstrated that he passes on good udder and teat traits in the expression of his dominant genes.

Note: keep in mind, the cow will also have an influence on the offspring.
I confess I have not read all the replys to thread. Some traits are more heritable than others.

California State University-Fresno animal
scientist Randy Perry says cows don't have
to be "pretty-uddered" to be functional in a
commercial beef herd. However, anecdotal
evidence suggests udder quality, on an
industry-wide basis, may have deteriorated.
Certainly, there is considerable variation
among and within herds.
Breed differences show there is a genetic
component to udder quality. It is considered
at least moderately heritable and geneticists
estimate its heritability is somewhere between
0.16 and 0.22

The boss is a bit demanding as far as udder quality, hoof quality oh yea then their is frame muscle depth of body come to think of it he is just pretty dang demanding on many levels. I make breeding selections based on strengths and weakness. If a cow has a weakness in a certain area then I try to select a bull that is know to be very strong for that trait. Bulls selected for natural service are going to be out of our top cows, and they will have been at the top end of the calf crop for performance. We don't have a perfect herd but it does get better every year, and I think that is what we should all be striving for. We should be looking for each calf crop to be better than the last. You can't correct a poor udder on a cow but you can breed that cow to a bull that will help improve the udder on her progeny. Knowing the strengths and weakness of your herd is the first step in correcting the weakness.

Most of the udder and feet and leg traits are around 15% heritable so the way you make improvement there is to breed to the ideal with every mating. You might get lucky and get tons of improvement in one generation or you might get something as bad as what you started with but that's where you have to trust your inputs and keep going. If you breed to ideal long enough you will come out where you want to be.
Due to the very long gestational cycle, the smaller the herd, the more important it is to use more proven bulls (less risk, less chance of failure) ... and the larger the herd, the more important it is to experiment around the edges in hopes of making large improvements in the bulls used as a great bull can handle 500 cows / heifers in a 70 calving window. This is how great strides can get made.



500 AI'd ... 167 didn't get bred and so get AI'd a wnd time ... of those 167, 2/3 get bred the 2nd time through the chute leaving roughly 58 girls for the bull to get two shots to cover ... any that are open failed two AI cycles and two bull cycles.

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