Path coefficient analysis of body weight and morphometric measurements in indigenous Matabele goat of Zimbabwe
Keywords:Body dimensions, Path analysis, Zoometrical traits
Direct and indirect effects of seven predictor variables (withers height, body length, heart girth, shoulder width, head width, rump width and rump length) on body weight of 109 Matabele goats, 47 females and 62 males, were investigated using path analysis. Sex-associated difference was significant (P<0.05) only for withers height, with higher value recorded for female goats. Pairwise correlations between body weight and zoometrical traits ranged from 0.420-0.966 and 0.507-0.959 for male and female goats, respectively. The direct effect of heart girth on body weight was the strongest in both sexes (path coefficient of 0.81 and 0.87 in males and females, respectively). Head width (males) and body length (females) also positively (P<0.05) influenced body weight. The direct effects of other linear type traits on body weight in both sexes were non-significant as revealed by the t-test. These traits were indirectly realized mostly via heart girth. Thus, they were expunged from the final regression equations to obtain much more simplified prediction models. The optimum multiple regression equation included heart girth with a determination coefficient (R2) of 0.939. Forecast indices obtained in this study could aid in weight estimation, selection and breeding programmes.
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