Breeding for Resilience

Genetics can play an important role in determining animals’ susceptibility to disease and their responses to other physical, environmental and social stressors. Breeding for improved resilience fosters good health and wellbeing for animals in future generations, benefiting overall farm performance.

Resilience is an animal’s capacity to be minimally affected by, or to quickly recover from, challenges to their physical and mental states. Challenges may include disease, temperature stress, novel environments, human interactions and changes to social groups. Animals’ ability to cope under different conditions is in part determined by genetics. Selective breeding for favourable traits can make them more common in future generations. Indicators for general resilience are being researched, but health-related traits like longevity and growth can act as indicators for disease resilience to help protect the health status of your animals.

Cross breeding for hybrid vigor and selecting for polled animals

403 – Selective breeding for high natural antibody level increases resistance to avian pathogenic Escherichia coli APEC in chickens (Research paper – Berghof – 2019)

291 – Looking after the individual to reduce disease in the flock – A binomial mixed effects model investigating the impact of individual sheep management (Research paper – Green – 2007)

225 Developing integrated livestock breeding and management strategies to improve animal health product quality and performance in European organic and low input milk (Industry Innovation)

224 Review_ New considerations to refine breeding objectives of dairy cows for increasing robustness and sustainability of grass-base (Research paper – Roche, 2018)

Genomic selection for profit and antibiotic reduction

Genomic selection

Sheep wellbeing – a holistic approach to management

Slower growing broiler crosses for reduced antibiotic use

Breeding for resilience in poultry: dual purpose chickens  

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 817591